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  • image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/
    Authors: Chacon-Hurtado, Juan C.; Alfonso, Leonardo; Solomatine, Dimitri P.;

    Sensors and sensor networks play an important role in decision-making related to water quality, operational streamflow forecasting, flood early warning systems, and other areas. In this paper we review a number of existing applications and analyse a variety of evaluation and design procedures for sensor networks with respect to various criteria. Most of the existing approaches focus on maximising the observability and information content of a variable of interest. From the context of hydrological modelling only a few studies use the performance of the hydrological simulation in terms of output discharge as a design criterion. In addition to the review, we propose a framework for classifying the existing design methods, and a generalised procedure for an optimal network design in the context of rainfall–runoff hydrological modelling.

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      image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/
  • image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/
    Authors: Zaroug, M. A. H.; Eltahir, E. A. B.; Giorgi, F.;

    The Blue Nile originates from Lake Tana in the Ethiopian Highlands and contributes about 60–69% of the main Nile discharge. Previous studies investigated the relationship of sea surface temperature (SST) in the Pacific Ocean (Niño 3.4 region) to occurrence of meteorological and hydrological droughts in the Nile Basin. In this paper we focus on the dependence of occurrence of droughts and floods in the upper catchment of the Blue Nile on the timing of El Niño and La Niña events. Different events start at different times of the year and follow each other, exhibiting different patterns and sequences. Here we study the impact of these timing and temporal patterns on the Blue Nile droughts and floods. The comparison between the discharge measurements (1965–2012) at the outlet of the upper catchment of the Blue Nile and the El Niño index shows that when an El Niño event is followed by a La Niña event, there is a 67% chance for occurrence of an extreme flood. Furthermore, we also found that 83% of El Niño events starting in April–June resulted in droughts in the upper catchment of the Blue Nile. Although the current study is limited by the reduced number of samples, we propose that observations as well as global model forecasts of SST during this season could be used in seasonal forecasting of the Blue Nile flow.

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    Authors: Zlinszky, A.; Timár, G.;

    Socio-hydrology is the science of human influence on hydrology and the influence of the water cycle on human social systems. This newly emerging discipline inherently involves a historic perspective, often focusing on timescales of several centuries. While data on human history is typically available for this time frame, gathering information on the hydrological situation during such a period can prove difficult: measured hydrological data for such long periods are rare, while models and secondary data sets from geomorphology, pedology or archaeology are typically not accurate enough over such a short time. In the first part of this study, the use of historic maps in hydrology is reviewed. Major breakthroughs were the acceptance of historic map content as valid data, the use of preserved features for investigating situations earlier than the map, and the onset of digital georeferencing and data integration. Historic maps can be primary quantitative sources of hydro-geomorphological information, they can provide a context for point-based measurements over larger areas, and they can deliver time series for a better understanding of change scenarios. In the second part, a case study is presented: water level fluctuations of Lake Balaton were reconstructed from maps, levelling logs and other documents. An 18th century map system of the whole 5700 km2 catchment was georeferenced, integrated with two 19th century map systems, and wetlands, forests and open water digitized. Changes in wetland area were compared with lake water level changes in a 220 yr time series. Historic maps show that the water level of the lake was closer to present-day levels than expected, and that wetland loss pre-dates drainage of the lake. The present and future role of historic maps is discussed. Historic hydrological data has to be treated with caution: while it is possible to learn form the past, the assumption that future changes will be like past changes does not always hold. Nevertheless, old maps are relatively accessible data sets and the knowledge base for using them is rapidly growing, and it can be expected that long-term time series will be established by integrating georeferenced map systems over large areas. In the Appendix, a step-by-step guide to using historic maps in hydrology is given, starting from finding a map, through georeferencing and processing the map to publication of the results.

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    Authors: Ferri, Michele; Wehn, Uta; See, Linda; Monego, Martina; +1 Authors

    Citizen observatories are a relatively recent form of citizen science. As part of the flood risk management strategy of the Brenta-Bacchiglione catchment, a citizen observatory for flood risk management has been proposed and is currently being implemented. Citizens are involved through monitoring water levels and obstructions and providing other relevant information through mobile apps, where the data are assimilated with other sensor data in a hydrological-hydraulic model used in early warning. A cost benefit analysis of the citizen observatory was undertaken to demonstrate the value of this approach in monetary terms. Although not yet fully operational, the citizen observatory is assumed to decrease the social vulnerability of the flood risk. By calculating the hazard, exposure and vulnerability of three flood scenarios (required for flood risk management planning by the EU Directive on Flood Risk Management) with and without the proposed citizen observatory, it is possible to evaluate the benefits in terms of the average annual avoided damage costs. Although currently a hypothetical exercise, the results showed a reduction in avoided damage of 45 % compared to a business as usual scenario. Thus, linking citizen science with hydrological modelling, and to raise awareness of flood hazards, has great potential in reducing future flood risk in the Brenta-Bacchiglione catchment. Moreover, such approaches are easily transferable to other catchments.

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    Authors: Dorigo, Wouter; Himmelbauer, Irene; Aberer, Daniel; Schremmer, Lukas; +64 Authors

    In 2009, the International Soil Moisture Network (ISMN) was initiated as a community effort, funded by the European Space Agency, to serve as a centralised data hosting facility for globally available in situ soil moisture measurements (Dorigo et al., 2011b, a). The ISMN brings together in situ soil moisture measurements collected and freely shared by a multitude of organisations, harmonises them in terms of units and sampling rates, applies advanced quality control, and stores them in a database. Users can freely retrieve the data from this database through an online web portal (https://ismn.earth/en/, last access: 28 October 2021). Meanwhile, the ISMN has evolved into the primary in situ soil moisture reference database worldwide, as evidenced by more than 3000 active users and over 1000 scientific publications referencing the data sets provided by the network. As of July 2021, the ISMN now contains the data of 71 networks and 2842 stations located all over the globe, with a time period spanning from 1952 to the present. The number of networks and stations covered by the ISMN is still growing, and approximately 70 % of the data sets contained in the database continue to be updated on a regular or irregular basis. The main scope of this paper is to inform readers about the evolution of the ISMN over the past decade, including a description of network and data set updates and quality control procedures. A comprehensive review of the existing literature making use of ISMN data is also provided in order to identify current limitations in functionality and data usage and to shape priorities for the next decade of operations of this unique community-based data repository.

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    Authors: Catari, G.; Latron, J.; Gallart, F.;

    The diverse sources of uncertainty associated with the calculation of rainfall kinetic energy and rainfall erosivity, calculated from precipitation data, were investigated at a range of temporal and spatial scales in a mountainous river basin (504 km2) in the south-eastern Pyrenees. The sources of uncertainty analysed included both methodological and local sources of uncertainty and were (i) tipping-bucket rainfall gauge instrumental errors, (ii) the efficiency of the customary equation used to derive rainfall kinetic energy from intensity, (iii) the efficiency of the regressions obtained between daily precipitation and rainfall erosivity, (iv) the temporal variability of annual rainfall erosivity values, and the spatial variability of (v) annual rainfall erosivity values and (vi) long-term erosivity values. The differentiation between systematic (accuracy) and random (precision) errors was taken into account in diverse steps of the analysis. The results showed that the uncertainty associated with the calculation of rainfall kinetic energy from rainfall intensity at the event and station scales was as high as 30%, because of insufficient information on rainfall drop size distribution. This methodological limitation must be taken into account for experimental or modelling purposes when rainfall kinetic energy is derived solely from rainfall intensity data. For longer temporal scales, the relevance of this source of uncertainty remained high if low variability in the types of rain was supposed. Temporal variability of precipitation at wider spatial scales was the main source of uncertainty when rainfall erosivity was calculated on an annual basis, whereas the uncertainty associated with long-term erosivity was rather low and less important than the uncertainty associated with other model factors such as those in the RUSLE, when operationally used for long-term soil erosion modelling.

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    Authors: Andrianaki, Maria; Shrestha, Juna; Kobierska, Florian; Nikolaidis, Nikolaos P.; +1 Authors

    In this study, we investigated the application of the Soil Water and Assessment Tool (SWAT) for the simulation of runoff in the partly glacierised watershed of the Damma glacier Critical Zone Observatory (CZO), Switzerland. The model was calibrated using daily time steps for the period of 2009–2011, while two different approaches were used for its validation. Initially the model was validated using daily data for the years 2012–2013. Subsequently, the calibrated version of the model was applied on the greater area that drains to the hydropower reservoir of the Göscheneralpsee and includes the Damma glacier watershed, using inflow data. This validation approach can help in assessing model uncertainty under changing land use and climate forcing. Model performance was evaluated both visually and statistically and it was found that even though SWAT has rarely been used in high alpine and glacierised areas and despite the complexity of simulating the extreme conditions of Damma glacier watershed; its performance was very satisfactory. Our novel validation approach proved to be successful since the performance of the model was similarly good when applied for the greater catchment feeding Göscheneralpsee. Finally, we investigated the response of the two regions, Damma glacier and its greater area, to climate change using SWAT and results were compared to a previous study using the models PREVAH and ALPINE 3D. It confirmed that SWAT can predict changes in future runoff and peak flow in alpine areas with the same accuracy as more demanding models such as ALPINE 3D and PREVAH. This study demonstrates the applicability of SWAT in high elevation, snow and glacier dominated watersheds and in quantifying the effects of climate change on water resources.

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    Authors: Lutz, Stefanie R.; Velde, Ype van der; Elsayed, Omniea F.; Imfeld, Gwenaël; +3 Authors

    Compound-specific stable isotope analysis (CSIA) has proven beneficial in the characterization of contaminant degradation in groundwater, but it has never been used to assess pesticide transformation on catchment scale. This study presents concentration and carbon CSIA data of the herbicides S-metolachlor and acetochlor from three locations (plot, drain, and catchment outlets) in a 47 ha agricultural catchment (Bas-Rhin, France). Herbicide concentrations at the catchment outlet were highest (62 µg L−1) in response to an intense rainfall event following herbicide application. Increasing δ13C values of S-metolachlor and acetochlor by more than 2 ‰ during the study period indicated herbicide degradation. To assist the interpretation of these data, discharge, concentrations, and δ13C values of S-metolachlor were modelled with a conceptual mathematical model using the transport formulation by travel-time distributions. Testing of different model setups supported the assumption that degradation half-lives (DT50) increase with increasing soil depth, which can be straightforwardly implemented in conceptual models using travel-time distributions. Moreover, model calibration yielded an estimate of a field-integrated isotopic enrichment factor as opposed to laboratory-based assessments of enrichment factors in closed systems. Thirdly, the Rayleigh equation commonly applied in groundwater studies was tested by our model for its potential to quantify degradation on catchment scale. It provided conservative estimates on the extent of degradation as occurred in stream samples. However, largely exceeding the simulated degradation within the entire catchment, these estimates were not representative of overall degradation on catchment scale. The conceptual modelling approach thus enabled us to upscale sample-based CSIA information on degradation to the catchment scale. Overall, this study demonstrates the benefit of combining monitoring and conceptual modelling of concentration and CSIA data and advocates the use of travel-time distributions for assessing pesticide fate and transport on catchment scale.

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    Authors: Dutra, E.; Giuseppe, F.; Wetterhall, F.; Pappenberger, F.;

    Vast parts of Africa rely on the rainy season for livestock and agriculture. Droughts can have a severe impact in these areas, which often have a very low resilience and limited capabilities to mitigate drought impacts. This paper assesses the predictive capabilities of an integrated drought monitoring and seasonal forecasting system (up to 5 months lead time) based on the Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI). The system is constructed by extending near-real-time monthly precipitation fields (ECMWF ERA-Interim reanalysis and the Climate Anomaly Monitoring System–Outgoing Longwave Radiation Precipitation Index, CAMS-OPI) with monthly forecasted fields as provided by the ECMWF seasonal forecasting system. The forecasts were then evaluated over four basins in Africa: the Blue Nile, Limpopo, Upper Niger, and Upper Zambezi. There are significant differences in the quality of the precipitation between the datasets depending on the catchments, and a general statement regarding the best product is difficult to make. The generally low number of rain gauges and their decrease in the recent years limits the verification and monitoring of droughts in the different basins, reinforcing the need for a strong investment on climate monitoring. All the datasets show similar spatial and temporal patterns in southern and north-western Africa, while there is a low correlation in the equatorial area, which makes it difficult to define ground truth and choose an adequate product for monitoring. The seasonal forecasts have a higher reliability and skill in the Blue Nile, Limpopo and Upper Niger in comparison with the Zambezi. This skill and reliability depend strongly on the SPI timescale, and longer timescales have more skill. The ECMWF seasonal forecasts have predictive skill which is higher than using climatology for most regions. In regions where no reliable near-real-time data is available, the seasonal forecast can be used for monitoring (first month of forecast). Furthermore, poor-quality precipitation monitoring products can reduce the potential skill of SPI seasonal forecasts in 2 to 4 months lead time.

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    Authors: Liechti, K.; Panziera, L.; Germann, U.; Zappa, M.;

    This study explores the limits of radar-based forecasting for hydrological runoff prediction. Two novel radar-based ensemble forecasting chains for flash-flood early warning are investigated in three catchments in the southern Swiss Alps and set in relation to deterministic discharge forecasts for the same catchments. The first radar-based ensemble forecasting chain is driven by NORA (Nowcasting of Orographic Rainfall by means of Analogues), an analogue-based heuristic nowcasting system to predict orographic rainfall for the following eight hours. The second ensemble forecasting system evaluated is REAL-C2, where the numerical weather prediction COSMO-2 is initialised with 25 different initial conditions derived from a four-day nowcast with the radar ensemble REAL. Additionally, three deterministic forecasting chains were analysed. The performance of these five flash-flood forecasting systems was analysed for 1389 h between June 2007 and December 2010 for which NORA forecasts were issued, due to the presence of orographic forcing. A clear preference was found for the ensemble approach. Discharge forecasts perform better when forced by NORA and REAL-C2 rather then by deterministic weather radar data. Moreover, it was observed that using an ensemble of initial conditions at the forecast initialisation, as in REAL-C2, significantly improved the forecast skill. These forecasts also perform better then forecasts forced by ensemble rainfall forecasts (NORA) initialised form a single initial condition of the hydrological model. Thus the best results were obtained with the REAL-C2 forecasting chain. However, for regions where REAL cannot be produced, NORA might be an option for forecasting events triggered by orographic precipitation.

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  • image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/
    Authors: Chacon-Hurtado, Juan C.; Alfonso, Leonardo; Solomatine, Dimitri P.;

    Sensors and sensor networks play an important role in decision-making related to water quality, operational streamflow forecasting, flood early warning systems, and other areas. In this paper we review a number of existing applications and analyse a variety of evaluation and design procedures for sensor networks with respect to various criteria. Most of the existing approaches focus on maximising the observability and information content of a variable of interest. From the context of hydrological modelling only a few studies use the performance of the hydrological simulation in terms of output discharge as a design criterion. In addition to the review, we propose a framework for classifying the existing design methods, and a generalised procedure for an optimal network design in the context of rainfall–runoff hydrological modelling.

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    Authors: Zaroug, M. A. H.; Eltahir, E. A. B.; Giorgi, F.;

    The Blue Nile originates from Lake Tana in the Ethiopian Highlands and contributes about 60–69% of the main Nile discharge. Previous studies investigated the relationship of sea surface temperature (SST) in the Pacific Ocean (Niño 3.4 region) to occurrence of meteorological and hydrological droughts in the Nile Basin. In this paper we focus on the dependence of occurrence of droughts and floods in the upper catchment of the Blue Nile on the timing of El Niño and La Niña events. Different events start at different times of the year and follow each other, exhibiting different patterns and sequences. Here we study the impact of these timing and temporal patterns on the Blue Nile droughts and floods. The comparison between the discharge measurements (1965–2012) at the outlet of the upper catchment of the Blue Nile and the El Niño index shows that when an El Niño event is followed by a La Niña event, there is a 67% chance for occurrence of an extreme flood. Furthermore, we also found that 83% of El Niño events starting in April–June resulted in droughts in the upper catchment of the Blue Nile. Although the current study is limited by the reduced number of samples, we propose that observations as well as global model forecasts of SST during this season could be used in seasonal forecasting of the Blue Nile flow.

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    Authors: Zlinszky, A.; Timár, G.;

    Socio-hydrology is the science of human influence on hydrology and the influence of the water cycle on human social systems. This newly emerging discipline inherently involves a historic perspective, often focusing on timescales of several centuries. While data on human history is typically available for this time frame, gathering information on the hydrological situation during such a period can prove difficult: measured hydrological data for such long periods are rare, while models and secondary data sets from geomorphology, pedology or archaeology are typically not accurate enough over such a short time. In the first part of this study, the use of historic maps in hydrology is reviewed. Major breakthroughs were the acceptance of historic map content as valid data, the use of preserved features for investigating situations earlier than the map, and the onset of digital georeferencing and data integration. Historic maps can be primary quantitative sources of hydro-geomorphological information, they can provide a context for point-based measurements over larger areas, and they can deliver time series for a better understanding of change scenarios. In the second part, a case study is presented: water level fluctuations of Lake Balaton were reconstructed from maps, levelling logs and other documents. An 18th century map system of the whole 5700 km2 catchment was georeferenced, integrated with two 19th century map systems, and wetlands, forests and open water digitized. Changes in wetland area were compared with lake water level changes in a 220 yr time series. Historic maps show that the water level of the lake was closer to present-day levels than expected, and that wetland loss pre-dates drainage of the lake. The present and future role of historic maps is discussed. Historic hydrological data has to be treated with caution: while it is possible to learn form the past, the assumption that future changes will be like past changes does not always hold. Nevertheless, old maps are relatively accessible data sets and the knowledge base for using them is rapidly growing, and it can be expected that long-term time series will be established by integrating georeferenced map systems over large areas. In the Appendix, a step-by-step guide to using historic maps in hydrology is given, starting from finding a map, through georeferencing and processing the map to publication of the results.

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    Authors: Ferri, Michele; Wehn, Uta; See, Linda; Monego, Martina; +1 Authors

    Citizen observatories are a relatively recent form of citizen science. As part of the flood risk management strategy of the Brenta-Bacchiglione catchment, a citizen observatory for flood risk management has been proposed and is currently being implemented. Citizens are involved through monitoring water levels and obstructions and providing other relevant information through mobile apps, where the data are assimilated with other sensor data in a hydrological-hydraulic model used in early warning. A cost benefit analysis of the citizen observatory was undertaken to demonstrate the value of this approach in monetary terms. Although not yet fully operational, the citizen observatory is assumed to decrease the social vulnerability of the flood risk. By calculating the hazard, exposure and vulnerability of three flood scenarios (required for flood risk management planning by the EU Directive on Flood Risk Management) with and without the proposed citizen observatory, it is possible to evaluate the benefits in terms of the average annual avoided damage costs. Although currently a hypothetical exercise, the results showed a reduction in avoided damage of 45 % compared to a business as usual scenario. Thus, linking citizen science with hydrological modelling, and to raise awareness of flood hazards, has great potential in reducing future flood risk in the Brenta-Bacchiglione catchment. Moreover, such approaches are easily transferable to other catchments.

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    Authors: Dorigo, Wouter; Himmelbauer, Irene; Aberer, Daniel; Schremmer, Lukas; +64 Authors

    In 2009, the International Soil Moisture Network (ISMN) was initiated as a community effort, funded by the European Space Agency, to serve as a centralised data hosting facility for globally available in situ soil moisture measurements (Dorigo et al., 2011b, a). The ISMN brings together in situ soil moisture measurements collected and freely shared by a multitude of organisations, harmonises them in terms of units and sampling rates, applies advanced quality control, and stores them in a database. Users can freely retrieve the data from this database through an online web portal (https://ismn.earth/en/, last access: 28 October 2021). Meanwhile, the ISMN has evolved into the primary in situ soil moisture reference database worldwide, as evidenced by more than 3000 active users and over 1000 scientific publications referencing the data sets provided by the network. As of July 2021, the ISMN now contains the data of 71 networks and 2842 stations located all over the globe, with a time period spanning from 1952 to the present. The number of networks and stations covered by the ISMN is still growing, and approximately 70 % of the data sets contained in the database continue to be updated on a regular or irregular basis. The main scope of this paper is to inform readers about the evolution of the ISMN over the past decade, including a description of network and data set updates and quality control procedures. A comprehensive review of the existing literature making use of ISMN data is also provided in order to identify current limitations in functionality and data usage and to shape priorities for the next decade of operations of this unique community-based data repository.

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    Authors: Catari, G.; Latron, J.; Gallart, F.;

    The diverse sources of uncertainty associated with the calculation of rainfall kinetic energy and rainfall erosivity, calculated from precipitation data, were investigated at a range of temporal and spatial scales in a mountainous river basin (504 km2) in the south-eastern Pyrenees. The sources of uncertainty analysed included both methodological and local sources of uncertainty and were (i) tipping-bucket rainfall gauge instrumental errors, (ii) the efficiency of the customary equation used to derive rainfall kinetic energy from intensity, (iii) the efficiency of the regressions obtained between daily precipitation and rainfall erosivity, (iv) the temporal variability of annual rainfall erosivity values, and the spatial variability of (v) annual rainfall erosivity values and (vi) long-term erosivity values. The differentiation between systematic (accuracy) and random (precision) errors was taken into account in diverse steps of the analysis. The results showed that the uncertainty associated with the calculation of rainfall kinetic energy from rainfall intensity at the event and station scales was as high as 30%, because of insufficient information on rainfall drop size distribution. This methodological limitation must be taken into account for experimental or modelling purposes when rainfall kinetic energy is derived solely from rainfall intensity data. For longer temporal scales, the relevance of this source of uncertainty remained high if low variability in the types of rain was supposed. Temporal variability of precipitation at wider spatial scales was the main source of uncertainty when rainfall erosivity was calculated on an annual basis, whereas the uncertainty associated with long-term erosivity was rather low and less important than the uncertainty associated with other model factors such as those in the RUSLE, when operationally used for long-term soil erosion modelling.

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    Authors: Andrianaki, Maria; Shrestha, Juna; Kobierska, Florian; Nikolaidis, Nikolaos P.; +1 Authors

    In this study, we investigated the application of the Soil Water and Assessment Tool (SWAT) for the simulation of runoff in the partly glacierised watershed of the Damma glacier Critical Zone Observatory (CZO), Switzerland. The model was calibrated using daily time steps for the period of 2009–2011, while two different approaches were used for its validation. Initially the model was validated using daily data for the years 2012–2013. Subsequently, the calibrated version of the model was applied on the greater area that drains to the hydropower reservoir of the Göscheneralpsee and includes the Damma glacier watershed, using inflow data. This validation approach can help in assessing model uncertainty under changing land use and climate forcing. Model performance was evaluated both visually and statistically and it was found that even though SWAT has rarely been used in high alpine and glacierised areas and despite the complexity of simulating the extreme conditions of Damma glacier watershed; its performance was very satisfactory. Our novel validation approach proved to be successful since the performance of the model was similarly good when applied for the greater catchment feeding Göscheneralpsee. Finally, we investigated the response of the two regions, Damma glacier and its greater area, to climate change using SWAT and results were compared to a previous study using the models PREVAH and ALPINE 3D. It confirmed that SWAT can predict changes in future runoff and peak flow in alpine areas with the same accuracy as more demanding models such as ALPINE 3D and PREVAH. This study demonstrates the applicability of SWAT in high elevation, snow and glacier dominated watersheds and in quantifying the effects of climate change on water resources.

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    Authors: Lutz, Stefanie R.; Velde, Ype van der; Elsayed, Omniea F.; Imfeld, Gwenaël; +3 Authors

    Compound-specific stable isotope analysis (CSIA) has proven beneficial in the characterization of contaminant degradation in groundwater, but it has never been used to assess pesticide transformation on catchment scale. This study presents concentration and carbon CSIA data of the herbicides S-metolachlor and acetochlor from three locations (plot, drain, and catchment outlets) in a 47 ha agricultural catchment (Bas-Rhin, France). Herbicide concentrations at the catchment outlet were highest (62 µg L−1) in response to an intense rainfall event following herbicide application. Increasing δ13C values of S-metolachlor and acetochlor by more than 2 ‰ during the study period indicated herbicide degradation. To assist the interpretation of these data, discharge, concentrations, and δ13C values of S-metolachlor were modelled with a conceptual mathematical model using the transport formulation by travel-time distributions. Testing of different model setups supported the assumption that degradation half-lives (DT50) increase with increasing soil depth, which can be straightforwardly implemented in conceptual models using travel-time distributions. Moreover, model calibration yielded an estimate of a field-integrated isotopic enrichment factor as opposed to laboratory-based assessments of enrichment factors in closed systems. Thirdly, the Rayleigh equation commonly applied in groundwater studies was tested by our model for its potential to quantify degradation on catchment scale. It provided conservative estimates on the extent of degradation as occurred in stream samples. However, largely exceeding the simulated degradation within the entire catchment, these estimates were not representative of overall degradation on catchment scale. The conceptual modelling approach thus enabled us to upscale sample-based CSIA information on degradation to the catchment scale. Overall, this study demonstrates the benefit of combining monitoring and conceptual modelling of concentration and CSIA data and advocates the use of travel-time distributions for assessing pesticide fate and transport on catchment scale.

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    Authors: Dutra, E.; Giuseppe, F.; Wetterhall, F.; Pappenberger, F.;

    Vast parts of Africa rely on the rainy season for livestock and agriculture. Droughts can have a severe impact in these areas, which often have a very low resilience and limited capabilities to mitigate drought impacts. This paper assesses the predictive capabilities of an integrated drought monitoring and seasonal forecasting system (up to 5 months lead time) based on the Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI). The system is constructed by extending near-real-time monthly precipitation fields (ECMWF ERA-Interim reanalysis and the Climate Anomaly Monitoring System–Outgoing Longwave Radiation Precipitation Index, CAMS-OPI) with monthly forecasted fields as provided by the ECMWF seasonal forecasting system. The forecasts were then evaluated over four basins in Africa: the Blue Nile, Limpopo, Upper Niger, and Upper Zambezi. There are significant differences in the quality of the precipitation between the datasets depending on the catchments, and a general statement regarding the best product is difficult to make. The generally low number of rain gauges and their decrease in the recent years limits the verification and monitoring of droughts in the different basins, reinforcing the need for a strong investment on climate monitoring. All the datasets show similar spatial and temporal patterns in southern and north-western Africa, while there is a low correlation in the equatorial area, which makes it difficult to define ground truth and choose an adequate product for monitoring. The seasonal forecasts have a higher reliability and skill in the Blue Nile, Limpopo and Upper Niger in comparison with the Zambezi. This skill and reliability depend strongly on the SPI timescale, and longer timescales have more skill. The ECMWF seasonal forecasts have predictive skill which is higher than using climatology for most regions. In regions where no reliable near-real-time data is available, the seasonal forecast can be used for monitoring (first month of forecast). Furthermore, poor-quality precipitation monitoring products can reduce the potential skill of SPI seasonal forecasts in 2 to 4 months lead time.

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    Authors: Liechti, K.; Panziera, L.; Germann, U.; Zappa, M.;

    This study explores the limits of radar-based forecasting for hydrological runoff prediction. Two novel radar-based ensemble forecasting chains for flash-flood early warning are investigated in three catchments in the southern Swiss Alps and set in relation to deterministic discharge forecasts for the same catchments. The first radar-based ensemble forecasting chain is driven by NORA (Nowcasting of Orographic Rainfall by means of Analogues), an analogue-based heuristic nowcasting system to predict orographic rainfall for the following eight hours. The second ensemble forecasting system evaluated is REAL-C2, where the numerical weather prediction COSMO-2 is initialised with 25 different initial conditions derived from a four-day nowcast with the radar ensemble REAL. Additionally, three deterministic forecasting chains were analysed. The performance of these five flash-flood forecasting systems was analysed for 1389 h between June 2007 and December 2010 for which NORA forecasts were issued, due to the presence of orographic forcing. A clear preference was found for the ensemble approach. Discharge forecasts perform better when forced by NORA and REAL-C2 rather then by deterministic weather radar data. Moreover, it was observed that using an ensemble of initial conditions at the forecast initialisation, as in REAL-C2, significantly improved the forecast skill. These forecasts also perform better then forecasts forced by ensemble rainfall forecasts (NORA) initialised form a single initial condition of the hydrological model. Thus the best results were obtained with the REAL-C2 forecasting chain. However, for regions where REAL cannot be produced, NORA might be an option for forecasting events triggered by orographic precipitation.

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