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Hydrology of Mountainous Areas





Czechoslovak Committee for Hydrology, Tmavskà 32, 82651 Bratislava, Czechoslovakia

Proceedings of the international workshop held at Strbské Pleso, Vysoké Tatry, Czechoslovakia, 7-10 June 1988. The workshop was a contribution to the International Hydrological Programme of UNESCO, project no. 4.8, and it was co-sponsored by UNESCO, the World Meteorological Organization, the International Association of Hydrological Sciences and the International Association of Hydrogeologists

IAHS Publication No. 190

Published by the International Association of Hydrological Sciences 1990.

IAHS Press, Institute of Hydrology, Wallingford, OX10 8BB, UK.

IAHS Publication No. 150. ISBN 0-947571-42-6.


The designations employed and the presentation of material throughout the publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of IAHS concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.


information and convenience of the reader.

an official endorsement or approval by IAHS of any product or service to the exclusion of others that may be suitable.


The use of trade, firm, or corporate names in the publication



Such use

does not

The Editor would like to express his thanks to Dr P. Miklânek, Dipt Eng I. Mésaros and Mrs A. Meliskovâ for their efforts and their continuous assistance with the proceedings. Mrs Poulette Richard of the National Hydrology Reearch Institute, Saskatoon, and Miss Heather Gulka, formerly with the same Institute, are also thanked for retyping the papers in the final section.

The camera-ready copy for the papers was partly prepared at the Institute of Hydrology and Hydraulics, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Trnavskâ 32, 826 51 Bratislava, Czechoslovakia, and partly prepared at the National Hydrology Research Institute, 11 Innovation Boulevard, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada S7N 3H5.

Printed in The Netherlands by Krips Repro Meppel.


Beautiful but often hostile and harsh mountains contri- bute to formation of the nature of man living in harmony

with them, and teach

with others. Therefore, it has been so easy to bring hydrologists studying mountainous hydrological processes together into the Slovakian High Tatras. The International Hydrological Decade (IHD) and Inter- national Hydrological Programme (IHP) of UNESCO, together with the International Association of Hydrological Scien- ces (IAHS), for more than 20 years provided strong incen- tives for world-wide studies of the hydrological pro- cesses in mountainous areas. They, as the sources of fresh water also become the sources of better understanding of the studied processes in complicated climatic, orographic and physico-geographic conditions. Moreover, if typical feature of mountains seems to be the elevation only, the hydrologists should also add features as the absence of data, their dominant spatial and temporal distributions and lacking accuracy.

him to live in the same harmony

The third phase of IHP within the project No.4.8 has created room to exchange the knowledge and experiences already gained in various mountainous regions, and to identify the so far open problems of mutual interest of these countries leading to internationally coordinated research.

The Czechoslovak Committee for Hydrology (CSVH) has responded by organizing the International workshop on hydrology of mountainous areas (7-10 June, 1988, Strbské Pleso, Czechoslovakia) together with:

- Institute of Hydrology and Hydraulics

- Slovak Hydrometeorological Institute

- Water Research Institute

- D.Stûr Geological Institute,

under the international sponsorship of:

- UNESCO, WMO, IAHS, IAH and cooperation of FAO,

and the national sponsorship of:

- Czechoslovak and Slovak Academies of Sciences

- Czechoslovak Commission for UNESCO

- Ministries of Forest and Water Management of the Czech and Slovak Socialist Republics

- Czech and Slovak Geological Offices.

The Workshop has covered the following topics:

1. Integral data networks, hydrometeorological data col- lection and processing in mountainous areas. Conveyed by WMO and CSVH, convenor Dr.Georg Gietl



2. Hydrological balance as a basis for water resources assessment and water management in mountainous regions. Conveyed by UNESCO and CSVH, convenor Dr.Lev S.Kuchment.

3. Surface water and groundwater interactions in moun- tainous areas. Conveyed by IAH, IAHS and CSVH, convenor Dr.Jan Silar

4. Modelling of hydrological processes and of man's

activity impacts in mountainous areas. Conveyed by IAHS, UNESCO and CSVH, convenor Dr.Vit Klemes. The presented volume within IAHS publications should be viewed as a more or less partial result of the Work- shop. The papers selected by convenors, the members of editorial board, do not cover all results presented at the well attended Workshop (the participants are listed in Appendix 3) . Naturally, with limited space, the volume cannot be fully comprehensive, and therefore, further pre- sentations of achieved results in other journals or publications are welcomed, and the continuation of works in the field of mountainous hydrology is very much appreciated. Finally, let us express our thanks to all the members of editorial board Dr.Gietl, Dr.Kuchment, Dr.Silar and especially Dr.V.Klemes, who generously invested a lot of time to fulfil the editorial decision to make to the original texts as few changes as possible, in order to preserve the authors' points of view, but to improve them according standards of IAHS publications. Also, let us thank all the members of the team from the Institute of Hydrology and Hydraulics of the Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava, and the National Hydrology Research Institute, Saskatoon, reponsible for the camera-ready copy of this publication.

Dr. Ludovït Molnâr Editor

Prof.Dr. Jan Benetin Chairman of the CSVH


Hydrology of mountainous areas is lagging behind many other areas of hydrological inquiry, in proportion to its greater difficulty. In hydrology research, as elsewhere, more attention has been paid to things which are easy than to those which are difficult. Man is the Great Opportunist and hydrologists are, after all, people. This is why we have, for example, so many computer models, sensitivity analyses, simulation studies, etc., and so few good hydrological data on mountainous basins: it is much easier to play with a computer in a cosy office (and cheaper, too) than to cope with blizzards, avalanches and rough and roadless terrain while making hydrological measurements in the mountains. But access is not the only difficulty. It is the very nature of the mountain environment that complicates matters seriously — the high variability of topography, soils and vegetation, of the temperature distribution, radiation and albedo, of the deposition and melting of snow and ice; the turbulent character of mountain streams, the rapidity of changes in atmospheric conditions and a host of other factors that complicate the life of the mountain hydrologist. But hhe importance of mountain hydrology can hardly be overestimated. While the tropical regions are the main source of atmospheric moisture, the mountainous regions control much of its distribution over the continents. Mountain ranges are the source areas of all the large river systems of the world and their temperature regime is a key factor for the seasonal distribution of their streamflow. It is a disquieting thought that, inspite of their hydrological importance, mountainous areas represent, practically speaking, some of the blackest black boxes in the hydrological cycle: not only their internal structure is "black", but often even their water input — however white it may appear on the ground! Only about their output — the streamflow of mountain-fed rivers do we have any accurate and systematic information. Therefore it is with great satisfaction that I welcomed the initiative of our Slovak colleagues to organize this international workshop, from which a selection of contributions is presented here, and with a great pleasure that I had an opportunity to participate in it.

Vit Klemes President International Association of Hydrological Sciences




Ludovit Molnâr & Jân Benetin




Vît Klemes



Keynote Papers


Collection and processing of hydrometeorological and hydrological data in


mountainous areas

G. Gietl


Water balance as a basis for water resources estimation and management in

mountainous areas

L. S. Kuchmeni


Surface water and groundwater interactions in mountainous areas /. Silar


The modelling of mountain hydrology: the ultimate challenge

V. KlemeS



Integral Data Networks, Hydrometeorological Data Collection and Processing in Mountainous Areas

Measurement and processing of atmospheric precipitation in mountainous

areas of Slovakia

M. Lapin


Influence of topography on spatial distribution of rain X. Meignien

C. Givone &


A French hydrometeorological experiment to evaluate weather radar capabilities for medium elevation mountain hydrology H. Andrieu, J. D. Creutin, J. Leoussoff & Y. Pointin


Hydrometric stations on the rivers of mountainous catchments


Pobeha & P. DobeS


Tests of three discharge gauging techniques in mountain rivers /. C. Bathurst


Correlation analysis of distribution characteristics of mean daily discharges

and morphological watershed characteristics

L. KaSpârek



and hydraulic research in mountain rivers

R. D. Jarrett


Roughness and resistance of flow in cross sections of gauging stations on

mountainous rivers in south Bohemia

/. Mareïovâ & K. MareS




Evaluating the "characteristic" discharge based on the equilibrium slope of

mountainous streams


Crescimanno, V. Ferro & G. Giordano



Hydrology research in the upper Indus basin, Karakoram Himalaya, Pakistan G. / . Young & K. Hewitt


Results of the regime observation of climatic and hydrological phenomena

in the Tatras region

/. Drako, M. Kupco, J. Turbek & P. Stastny




Hydrological Balance as a Basis for Water Resources Assessment and Water Management in Mountainous Regions


Problems of the water balance components determination in a mountainous


watershed L. Molnâr, P. Miklânek & I.



Water budget of forest ecosystems in the Small Carpathians



Tuzinsky & S.




Monthly water balance with account of physico-geographical and climatic characteristics in the catchment O. Mendel & W. Golf


An analysis of the water balance in a cold region of a high mountainous area Z. Xuecheng, Y. Zhenniang, C. Zhentang & W. Qiang


Cloud and fog water deposition as a process affecting water balance and chemistry V. Elias, M. Tesaf & B. Moldan


Evapotranspiration from a forested basin in the Jizera Mountains

/. Krecek


Evaluation of évapotranspiration for a mountainous river basin

P. Sïastny



Surface Water and Groundwater Interactions in Mountainous Regions

Utilization of factor analysis by the study of runoff characteristics in mountainous areas B. A. Shmagin & M. Fendekovâ



Interpretation of wadi hydrograph for wadi water resources management /. Mucha


Estimation of the surface, subsurface and groundwater runoff components in mountainous areas /. Gurtz, R. Schwarze, G. Peschke & U. Griinewald 263

Time and its meaning in groundwater studies

/. Silar


Hydrological behaviour of glacial deposits in mountainous areas


Partiaux & G. F. Nicoud




relations to precipitation and hydrogeological conditions F. Mihâlik &


in the mountainous areas of Slovakia and its




Groundwater balance and flow pattern in overdeepened sections of

valleys in the

Bavarian Alps

K, P. Setter



Modelling of Hydrological Processes and of Man's Activity Impacts in Mountainous Areas


Runoff modelling in mountainous basins

/. Turcan


On the information content of air temperature in the context of snow

melt estimation

H. Lang & L. Braun



Modelling the runoff from a glaciated drainage basin (Vernagtferner,

Oetztal Alps)

H. Oerter & O. Reinwarth


Quantitative geomorphology, stream networks and instantaneous unit


G. Pristachovâ


Unit hydrograph revisited: the first differenced transfer function (FDTF) approach D. Duband, I. Nalbantis, Ch. Obled, J. Y. Rodriguez &




Application of adapted curve number model on the Sputka basin Pavel Kovâr



Some aspects of hydrodynamic models used in mountainous areas


Zeman & R. Zizka



Hydrological impact of deforestation in the central Himalaya

M. J. Haigh,


S. Rawat & H. S. Bisht



Results of international co-operation within a regional project on hydrology of mountainous areas of the countries of central and eastern Europe








Chairmen and Key-Speakers of the Workshop




Recommendations of the Workshop




Keynote Papers

Hydrology of Mountainousylreas/Proceedings of the âtrbské Pleso Workshop, Czechoslovakia, June 1988). IAHS Publ. no. 190, 1990.

Collection and processing of hydrometeorological and hydrological data in mountainous areas

G. GIETL Bayerische Forstliche Versuchs- und Forschungsanstalt, Munchen


Water is the basic precondition of all life on earth. Irrespective of extension and geographic situation, mountainous are - as a rule - areas with the most exten- sive exchange of water and energy within a region. Becau- se of the constantly rising number of people populating this world and wishing to improve their standard of liv- ing, the need of settlement space and cultivation areas is growing, thus the consumption of water for individual needs, and for production of energy is increasing over- proportionally. Reserve of water and energy exist primarily in the mountainous regions of the world causing the pressure on utilization of the mountainous resources increase per- manently. Therefore, the hydrology is forced to study intensively the watercycle - the water yield and its temporal distribution - in order to secure the existence of mankind and to improve our conditions of living. So it is necessary to collect data and provide informations on how the resources of water (and energy) can be deve- loped, and how the water causing dangers to the settle- ments and cultivated areas, could be diminished or avoi- ded. In order to solve these problems, hydrologists can

use methods and

adapt them to the mountainous regions if possible. But because of specific climatic, morphological and energy conditions, which control and influence the water cycle in the mountains, there have to be found new concepts and methods as well.

experiences aquired in the lowlands and


How the data should be collected and how exactly the

observed values have to be measured and processed it

in each case on what they are to be used for. The general aim should be a hydrological network providing data, that could be used to determine the characteristic hydrological and hydrometeorological parameters everywhere in a region or a country by inter- polation of the measured values of different network stations. Of course, this applies also to the mountainous


G. Gietl


areas. Since the great mountain ranges of the earth are on a large scale undeveloped, it is often impossible to install in a short time a network of this sort. Therefore, it is necessary to develope an integral network from the minimum to the optimum required size. A minimum network should at least dispose data about the water yield and its temporal distribution, and about the potential dangers of floods and droughts. These data are required for planning. Primarily, the evaluation of the data is done retrospectively - statistically and prognostically by means of theory of probabilities. An optimum network should meet the requirements of the operational hydrology and allow the process oriented prognoses of runoff. In this case, the data processing will also include the simulation of water cycle by hydro- logical models. Considering all the differences in specific require- ments and natural conditions, it will not be possible to design a standardized hydrological network. Only the general principles regarding its establishment and deve- lopment are feasible. It should be mentioned, that hydro- logical stations will be in operation for decades or longer and that new requirements and tasks will be arising during that time. Therefore, the stations should be suffi- ciently equipped for new tasks and possible extension right from the beginning and should fit into the other integrated networks.


Networks for planning purposes

Hydrological networks serve to inform about a country's water resources with the aim to secure the regional and national socioeconomic development. They should supply quantitative data and verified characteristic values about the natural water resources and their temporal and spatial distribution.

Parameters. Unless specific regional hydrological models are available the discharge is the most important hydrolo- gical value. The runoff is the integral expression of all hydrological processes in the upstream catchment area and a key factor for the hydrological regime in the down- stream areas. To achieve a better understanding of the hydrological processes, some more hydrological parameters should be measured parallelly to the discharge. In the first place this means the observation of the quantity of precipita- tion in form of rain or snow as the basic input parameter. Where liquid or solid forms of precipitation are not specified they can be estimated in the first approxima- tion by taking into consideration the air temperature.


Collection andprocessing ofdata

Finally, the surface water storages in form of lakes, reservoirs,snow cover and glaciers should also be obser- ved, since they control the runoff from the area.

Density of network. The optimal network density is deter- mined by the aim to describe the hydrological parameters over the area of interest. It primarily depends on the morphological and climatic conditions and the structure of a region, in the mountains especially on the respec- tive elevations. An orientation regarding the minimal density of network is given by the WMO for mountainous areas of the temperate, mediterranean and tropical zones in Table 1 (values in brackets are given for the small mountainous islands with very irregular precipitations and very dense stream network).

Table 1 Minimal density of networks for mountainous areas by WMO

Type of

Range of norms

Range of provisional


for minimum

norms tolerated in


difficult conditions Area per station (km 2 )

Stream gauging

300 - 1000

1000 - 5000 (*)


(140 -



100 -


250 - 1000 (*)

gauge (* *)




for exceptionally difficult conditions. (** ) A t least two precipitation stations should be loca-

ted in each catchment area, one near the stream gauging station and the other one in the upper part

Last figure of the range should be tolerated only

basin. Observation of snowfall, water equi-

valent and depth of snow on the ground should be made at all precipitation stations. To assess the influence on the water balance, the change of storage of the glaciers should be determined at least once a year before the winter season.

Hierarchy of the stations. Hydrological observations have t o be carried out over a long period of time, one of the reasons being the medium-term fluctuation of the climate, so that statistically secured statements about the probability of extreme situations can be made. For economic reasons, the number of stations with observa- tions .for an indefinite time should not be too high. On this a«ccount it is above all advisable to split the stream gauging stations - except stations for special

o f the

G. Gietl


research - into two categories:

- principal or permanent stations with continuous and undefinite observation

- secondary stations with limited number of years of observation. The permanent stations offer the basis for the statisti- cal analyses and for the analysis of time series, while the secondary stations provide data for the spatial extrapolation of these results. After a number of years, when a correlation of runoff data between permanent and secondary stations has been found, the later could be transfered into other areas, so that the informations about all areas can be secured in a long run. Of course serious changes in the land use during the operation of secondary stations could make it necessary to prolong the time of the observation. The correlation between both types of stations could be improved, if the comparison includes precipitation and physical characteristics of the basins. In mountainous regions with their typically distinct spatial and temporal variations of precipitation, the precipitation networks should therefore still be retained, when the second order stream gauging stations get trans- fered.

Time resolution. The time resolution of the observations depends on the response time of the runoff which reflects the size of the catchment its morphology and the surface cover. It influences the accuracy of the discharge measu- rements, and therefore, recording instruments should be installed, since they offer the most temporal informa- tions. If continuous recording is not possible, daily observations are advisable. In remote region the water level can be observed depending on the situation and hydrological regime. Under low water conditions a few observations are sufficient, whereas during the flood or flash floods and snow melt in small catchments, sometimes hourly measuring will be necessary. Can this not be done either, at least the water level at the peak runoff should be measured. In the mountains and after flood event it is further- more important to measure out new cross section of the stream channel because of the transport of sediments and bed-load, and possible river bed erossion. Under unstable conditions it is also necessary to determine new rating curve. The precipitation should be measured daily, since the density of precipitation measurements has great influence on the hydrological analyses. In remote regions the measuring by totalizers is still useful, as long as the time resolution is able to show the required seasonal distribution of precipitation.


Collection andprocessing ofdata

The water equivalent of the snow cover should at least be determined at the time of its probable maximum, becau- se this serves as a datum for the determination and sepa- ration of snow melt runoff. Here, the periodical measu- ring of snow depth and of snow cover percentage is also recommended.

Network for the operational hydrology

The operational hydrology deals with the hydrological forecasting, e.g. of floods or droughts, and the mana- gement of reservoirs and streamflows. Because of the short response time in the mountains, the collection of data is inevitably process oriented. The input parameters and water storage in the hydrological cycle are in the operational network of higher importance than in a net- work for planning purposes. The forecasting or regulation of the runoff by means of mathematical or physical models are widely used.

Parameters. Measured values of precipitation and melting rates of ice and snow, as well as data on water storages in the snow cover and the lakes, and in larger areas also informations about the upstream discharge, are usu- ally needed. Furthermore, there have to be determined the water loss by evaporation from the water surfaces and the évapotranspiration, since they can considerably decrease the long-term water yield. For special purposes the transport of sediment is also of importance, as well as the water quality in reser- voirs for drinking water and irrigation purposes. According to the models used, the meteorological para- meters have to be determined, especially radiation, windspeed, air temperature and humidity.

Density of network. As a rule, the network especially used for operational projects is of a greater density than the general network, since the data have to be more accurate. Its features are similar to an optimal network which gives informations covering the entire area of interest. For example, in the mountains of the Switzerland the density of the precipitation network for water resources research is 6 per station and for general hydrolo- gical purposes less than 10 per station is re- quested. The selected basis station for operational hydrological projects should at the same time be integra- ted in the network of the permanent stations, since from these stations reliable data can be expected over a long period of time.

Time resolution. The time resolution is dependent on the size of the catchment and the hydrological task. Since

G. Gietl


these areas are well developed and observation personnel

is usually available, the recording instruments for the measuring of precipitation and discharge should be used. This is important especially in areas with the high intensities of precipitation or with a higher percentage of snow melt runoff. The time resolution of the measuring, of course, depends also on the use of hydrological models for the prognoses and the time step of these models. For forecasting purposes the time resolution should be a fraction of the time between the main events the precipi- tation and runoff. In small mountainous watersheds the

time step is about

1- 2


Special networks

In the most cases the network density of hydrological stations is not sufficient to parameterize the specific regional hydrological process and develop or adapt hydro- logical models with the necessary accuracy. Therefore, for this purpose the special research has to be done.

Representative basins. In every mountainous region with typical hydrological characteristics a representative basin should be established. Here, the hydrological and hydraulic conditions, which depend on climate and geo- logy, on relief and vegetation, can be studied in detail. Thereby, the regionally specific regularities of the hydrological cycle can be much better understood and be extrapolated to the regions with similar structures.

Reference basins. In order to estimate the influence of human activities on the hydrological cycle in the labile systems of the mountains and to separate it from natural influences, e.g. fluctuation of climate, it is necessary to establish reference basins. In the first place, they serve to observe and scientifically analyse the natural

hydrological cycle. Their importance is based on the fact, that they serve a measure for the stress on nature in

comparison with

Representative and reference basin are nowadays useful, if they become integrated in the network of the permanent stations. The small number of these special networks allows an overproportional technical effort providing for more accurate results. If an integrated network is built, the individual stations will have different tasks and the collected data have to meet different require- ments. Van derMade has comprised them in the Table 2.

man affected, catchment areas.


Methods and instruments in the field of mountainous hydrology vary as much as its objectives, parameters and temporal conditions. They depend on infrastructure

Table 2


Collection andprocessing ofdata

Network objectives and requirements (after Van der Made)


Hydrological forecasting Operation and water management Water balance compilation Study of long-term changes


1 (2)


2 (3)


3 (4)

(2) 3


1 - immediate availability

2 - representativity

3 - high accuracy

4 - availability of long time series

accessibility, supply of energy and availability of obser- vers. They have to withstand often rough conditions with temperatures far below the freezing-point, as well as difficult hydraulic conditions and impact of the kinetic energy. For this reason, only a general view of measure- ments of the most important parameters - precipitation, snow cover and runoff - can be presented.


For hydrological analyses and considerations, the areal precipitation is the primary value. As far as this is possible, it should be recorded by remote sensing tech- niques or be determined traditionally from direct obser- vations by the precipitation network. Usually, the diffe- rent methods do not compete but complement each other.

Rain gauges and totalizers. The instruments mostly used to measure precipitation are rain gauges. They have proved to be successful in the low lands in spite of the instrument related systematic errors. As a result of the growing wind influence at the exposed mountainous sites, these errors become more important, and even with the windshield, a considerable systematic error will remain. Underestimations of precipitation occur especially during the winter, when falls the snow. These errors can be cor- rected to a certain degree depending on instrumental and local conditions by the special detailed research. The area! precipitation can be determined from point- measurements by the isohyete or Thiessen-Polygon methods. Generally it applies: the larger the area, the more sta- tions are operating, the longer the period of integra- tion, the lesser the errors at the end. This means, especially for mountains with the high spatial and tem- poral variation of precipitation, that a great number of stations is necessary. For this reason, a timely limi- ted overinstrumentation is recommendable, which may be

G. Gietl


reduced after sufficient statistical analysis is accom- plished. The operation of rain gauges network requires enough observation personnel in the upper parts of the mountains, and sufficient energy to heat at least the recording instruments, unless weighting instruments are used. Where both of them are not available, the totalizers have to be used. Generally, it is possible to obtain comparati- vely accurate data of the areal precipitation over long periods of integration with the simple rain gauges.

Radars. By using the radar, remarkable improvements in measuring the rainfall rate could be achieved. It is possible, to register short term rainfall rates in a

radius up to 100 km, and locate it with a diameter

1 km times 1 degree. For short-term observation the resolution of rainfall distribution is better than with the point measuring. Still, the quantitative determina- tion of precipitation is very inaccurate. The data have to be calibrated with values obtained by recording rain gauges, problems arise especially in determining mixed precipitation and snowfall rates, and in the bright band at freezing level. Thus, in large parts of the mountains the use of radar is limited; it is also limited due to the problems with the anomalous ground echo.


Satellites. Satellites do not determine the precipitation directly. The precipitation are estimated from passive measurings in the micro wave range by measuring of the water vapour. A quantitative estimation of the rain fall rate is possible untill now only for heavy rains. With the cloud cover, snowfall can only be assumed. Remote sensing by satellites is less exact than radar measure- ments regarding the spatial resolution and quantifica- tion. Therefore, it is helpful for estimating the pre- cipitation only in extensive mountainous areas without sufficient conventional instrumentation. In such region the remote sensing is a basis for flood forecasting through determination of the area of precipitation and estimation of the precipitation rate.

Micro wave attenuation. The method of determining rain- fall rate by means of micro wave attenuation is still in the state of development. This method is comparatively independent of the drop size and could become a good way to determine the average rainfall rate along the path from the transmitter to the reflector. By measuring several paths it should be possible to determine the spatial distribution of the rainfall rate with the help of tomographic inverse techniques. Path lengths ranging from 1 to 10 km are visualised.


Collection andprocessing ofdata

Snow cover

Data acquisition related to snow cover, like snow depth, snow density, snow cover percentage, temperature and

water equivalent of snow pack is traditionally carried out by observers. The data are collected either near rain gauge stations or at special snow surveys. Only very few parameters, like temperature of snow pack or snow depth, are suited for automatic measurement. Accordingly,

the meteorological

parameters, like

degree days or energy

balance components are mainly used to forecast the snow melts. Another possibility of forecasting the runoff is the observation of the temporal development of snow

covered areas. In the Switzerland the satellite pictures

of NOAA - AVHRR and of

this purpose. NOAA has a temporal resolution of six hours and a spatial resolution of 1.1 times 1.1, Landsat 16 days and 30.0 times 30.0 respectively. The pic- tures have been interpreted under three categories (full snow cover, 50%, and snow free), from which the transi- tional zone and the snow line can be determined by means

of integration. A good temporal resolution with a repeat-

the Landsat - TM are used for

3 up to 8 days is more important for the

subject procedure than a high spatial resolution. In fo- rested areas, however, the use of satellite pictures remains problematic.

ing period from


In hydrological networks the runoff is usually not measu- red directly, but by the water stage-discharge relation- ship. The rating curve itself is developed specifically for each station from short-term measurements of the discharge under different water levels. With stable riverbeds and well selected cross-sections the rating curves could be valid for a long time. The discharge measurements •'l'themselves can be carried out by different methods. Apart from direct measuring of volume and time in small brooks, the direct or indirect hydraulic para- meters are measured and the runoff is finally calculated. The equations on this score were usually developed in the lowlands under conditions of laminary flow and hori- zontal homogeneity. However, such conditions are hard to find in the mountains. Bedrock outcrops cause tur.bulent flow, under low water conditions the water covers only parts of the riverbed, and bed load transport at flood changes the river's cross-section and the zero point for the water stage measurements. This means that the right choice of stream reaches requires exceptional experience and that the hydraulic parameters and the rating curve have to be determined over and over again. It also means that the methods of discharge determination have to be modified for mountains and that the hydraulic equations



have to be specifically parametrized. A further problem with direct discharge measurements in the mountains is the danger observers and instruments are exposed to, especially at high water levels because of the high kinetic energy in steep rivers and floating debris. That is also true for the water stage gauging stations. The importance of an accurate discharge measu- rement in the mountains and the respective efforts being made in scientific research today are reflected in the papers for topic 1.


Joss, J., Millier, G. (1985) Instrumente. In: Per Nieder- schlag in der Schweiz (ed. Sevruk B.) Geographischer Verlag Kttmmerly + Frey, Bern, pp.31 - 47 Raschke, E. (1983) Strahlungshaushalt, Niederschlag und Schnee. In: Neuere Ergebnisse der Satellitenmeteoro- logie. Promet 3/4 1983. Schon und Wetzel, Frankfurt. pp.13 - 22 Riedl, J. (1986) Radar - Flachenniederschlagsmessung. In: Hydrometeorologie. Promet 2/3 1986. Schon und Wetzel, Frankfurt, pp. 20 - 23 Sevruk, B., Martinec, J. (1985) Fehlerquellen, Genauig- keit, Korrekturmoglichkeit. In: Der Niederschlag in der Schweiz (ed. Sevruk B.) Geographischer Verlag

Rummerly +

Frey, Bern. pp. 65 - 8 6

Van der Made, J.W. (1988) Analysis of some criteria for design and operation of surface water gauging networks. Rijkswaterstaat communications nr. 47, The Haag, 440 pp. Van der Made , J.W. (19 88) Integrated networks for various components and objectives. In: Design aspects of hydro- logical networks (ed. van der Made). TNO Committee on hydrological research nr.35, The Haag, pp. 125 - 143 WMO, (1974) Guide to hydrological practices. 3rd ed. WMO-


WMO, (1988) Rainfall measurement technology. In:Valida- tion of satellite precipitation measurements for the global- precipitation climatology project. WMO/TD-No. 203, pp. 5.1 - 5.10

Hydrology of Mountainous Areas ÇPraceedines of the Strbské Pleso Workshop, Chechoslovakia, June IAHS Publ. no. 190, 1990.

Water balance as a basis for water resources estimation and management in mountainous areas

L . S. KUCHMENT Water Problems Institute, USSR Academy of Sciences 13/3 Sadovo-Charnogriazskaya, Moscow, USSR


In many regions mountains are the basic areas of runoff formation. The increasing human activity does not lay apart of those places, on matter how enthusiastically we

admire them and how hard can we try to leave them intact. Our understanding of runoff formation mechanisms in moun-

tains results in the decrease of damages caused

to the wa-

ter resources and natural environment. In some cases it increases the efficiency of water resources use in the national economy. Hydrological cycle of mountainous river basin is a complex interaction of processes influenced both by regional peculiarities of climatic, soil, geological conditions and vertical zonal variability together with slope exposition. Limited hydrometeorological data in mountainous watersheds is an important characteristic feature of the research and forecasting of the hydrolo- gical processes in the mountains. The analysis of these processes and methods of their forecasting should be supplemented by methods of observation and vertical extra- polation of data, or by methods of remote sensing data acquisition and processing. Unfortunately, these methods are developed too slowly. At the same time, increased human impacts on mountai- nous watersheds and the interests of environmental pro- tection necessitate not only to obtain the information on mountainous water resources (as it was earlier), but also the information of possible changes in the water balance components, resulting from man-induced impact on watersheds and from expected climatic changes. In con- nection with the increased environmental pollution, the greater attention is now being paid to water quality formation. It expands our knowledge and our requirements to the detailization of the concept of the hydrological cycle and the account of soil and geological peculia- rities in the river basin. For many mountainous basins especially for the ones located in densely populated regions the problem of land-use planning, taking into account possible control of hydrometeorological conditions (artificial increasing of precipitation, changes in the intensity of snow and glacier melting and other man-induced changes) is aquiring

L. S. Kuchment


ever greater prominence. Physically based models of the mountainous basins hydrological cycle should become a basis for such planning and for the prediction of changes in its components including water quality.


The water balance method allowing us to improve our knowledge of hydrological processes is one of its obliga- tory stages in developing the physically based models. At the same time, the method remains the basis for the estimation of our possibilities to control the hydrolo- gical cycle and water resources. Experimental measure- ments or determination of water balance components, the establishment of relations between these components, and the estimation of their possible changes under various conditions, provide sufficient information on the charac- ter of hydrological processes, their temporal and spatial variability, interaction with the environment and possible response to man-induced changes. Frequently, due to the absence of observed data at mountainous basins, the water balance method is often reduced to the determination and comparison of annual precipitation, runoff and évapo- transpiration. Due to this fact, the method is sometimes regarded as inadequate to the tasks of modern hydrology. However, its possibilities have not been exhausted yet. Increasing the number of water balance components, their temporal and spatial detailization, increasing the accu- racy of the relations between different components, revealing "contrôlable" ones - all these are the main trends in mountainous basin investigations, that can contribute to the analysis of the hydrological cycle and the development of physically based models. At the same time, it is important not to overestimate the possibili- ties of the method as a tool of water resources control and estimation of human effects on the hydrological cycle. The papers submitted to the Workshop reflected both the possibilities of using this method in the research of the hydrological cycle and also its drawbacks. The bigger part of papers is devoted to the methods of deter- mining the main water balance components and their tem- poral and spatial variability in various geographical zones and different mountainous watersheds. In most cases the analysis of mountainous catchment water balance for long time intervals is reduced to the comparison of runoff and precipitation data. The runoff is usually measured accurately, the precipitation (espe- cially during winter season) are measured mainly at low altitudes. Its simple altitudinal extrapolation often results in low accuracy. Complete account of the water- shed topography and direction of air mass movement is essential.Data on changes of the watershed areas covered with snow, obtained from space satellites gives good


Water balance as a basis for water resources estimation

basis for determination of the water equivalent of snow and correction coefficient necessary for the elevation extrapolation of solid precipitation. In some papers classification of mountainous basins basis with the account of canopy peculiarities is car- ried out with the aim to increase to accuracy of eleva- tion precipitation extrapolation. For different geographi- cal zones the runoff-precipitation and runoff-altitude relations were then obtained. In many cases, the hydrographs can be divided into surface and groundwater components. Based on this, Lvo- vich suggested to use six components of the water balance structure (precipitation, total runoff, surface runoff, groundwater runoff, total évapotranspiration, difference between precipitation and groundwater runoff). Carried out research allowed to obtain zonal regularities of. variations between difference components for the great

Caucasus, was also proved that differences in the structure of water balance of similar zones in different mountainous systems can be explained by man-induced impact on the landscape. Obtained regularities can be useful in the spatial interpolation of water balance data.

Tien-Shan, South American Ands and Western

In mountainous regions with considerable snow coverage the estimation of precipitation can be carried out on the basis of snow-line movement and air temperature observations. These observations can serve a basis for the determination of the subject component in the river runoff necessary for more justified estimates of water resources. Evaporation is a component of water balance which is the most difficult to determine in mountainous water- sheds. In addition to the vertical changes in air mass characteristics, cloudness and canopy, the effect of changes in solar radiation depending on slope orienta- tion is important here. The main perspectives in impro- ving the methods of determining this component are con- nected with the development of remote sensing methods. Measurements of the soil surface and canopy temperature with the help of radiometers, coupled with models of soil surface dynamics, can ensure the calculation of evaporation in different areas of the mountainous water- shed. Coefficients, required for these calculations, can be precised on the basis of the évapotranspiration values for a long-term period, determined by differences between the precipitation and runoff. In order to understand mountainous watershed processes and to estimate runoff characteristics, necessary for water resource systems management and control (temporal variability, seasonal dynamics, extreme value of certain chemical substances concentration) a more detailed deter- mination of water balance components (distinguishing subsurface and groundwater runoff, seepage,interception

L. S. Kuchment


of precipitation by plants, surface retention) are requi- red. Direct measurement of these components is rather difficult. Therefore, various direct and indirect evalua- tions of the subject components are used and testified about their considerable variations depending on the watershed structure and types of vegetation. Different vegetation species and their coverage of the watershed area have a considerable effect on the ratio between studied components. Forest soils increase appreciably the subsurface flow and seepage, decreasing the surface retention. Unfortunately, most of water balance studies for mountainous watersheds deal with only three or four com- ponents of the water balance for a year or a season, and they are insufficient for the precision of our ideas on runoff formation mechanisms, to say nothing of water quality formation. Attention paid to the study of possible changes in water balance components caused by human effect on climate and watershed conditions, is insuffi- cient either.


Changes in the mountainous watershed conditions manifest themselves mainly in deforestation. However, short-term experimental observations at the watershed before and after deforestation do not allow us to obtain convincing conclusions on the role of forests and changing of hydro- logical characteristics. The study by Valtyni can be given as an example. This paper presents the analysis of long-term water balance observations at a watershed with an area of 685 km 2 , which was re-afforested in the 60-ies - 70-ies so that the forested area increased by 5.7%. Data of 55 year observation series reveals the tendency to diminish the total annual precipitation, however, re-afforestation did not entail any changes in the mean annual runoff or maximum discharge variations. These results do not contradict to modern concepts of the hydrological role of forests. At the same time they demonstrate problems arising in its experimental investi- gations because even 2-3 decades of experimental obser- vations may not provide a sufficient information to de- termine the effect of afforestation on water balance components under various hydrometeorological conditions. Nevertheless, the conclusions on the forest impact on water quality are more definite. A comparison of the chemical composition of water flowing from forested and unforested watersheds is showing the increase in nitrate^ chloride and sulphate contents in the both watersheds. The concentration of NO3 - and Cl~ ions is a little higher at the agriculturally utilised watershed, which is result of fertilizers application. The increase in SO4" content can be explained by the effect of acid rains.


Water balance as a basis for water resources estimation

The obtained results allow us to .regard afforestation as a favourable condition for water quality formation. The increase of snow and glacier melting intensity is an investigated way to increase the runoff from mountain- ous basins by diminishing the Central Asian glaciers albedo. However, so far the solution acceptable from the view point of the ecology and economy was not find. The attempts to increase river runoff from mountains by means of artificial effect on precipitation turned out to be more successful. Large-scale experiments on artificial increase of precipitation in the Caucasus were carried out by Svanidze. The evaluation of the effect was carried out by comparing runoff values from the experimental and contrôled watersheds. The comparison showed that during the period of active influence on the precipitation, runoff could be augmented by 20%, and seasonal precipitation values at a watershed in the East- ern Georgia increased by 15% for 8 years. The total pre- cipitation at the experimental area near the Lake Sevan increased by 110 mm for the same period. Similar large- scale investigations of the possibility to increase artificially the precipitation area also carried out in the mountains of the Soviet Central Asia. The obtained results should be regarded as preliminary, however, the artificial increase of rainfalls is expected to be lore effective in mountainous regions with high air humidity and unstable atmospheric stratification, than in arid zones. Man-induced climate changes considerably affect the spatial and temporal distribution of precipitation and temperature-- in mountainous areas. Undoubtedly, this would create and impact on other water balance components. However, the sensitivity of mountainous hydrological

systems to possible man-induced

climate variations

turns out to be less than that of flat-lowland areas. As an example the Table 1 is presenting the results of estimating possible variations in snowmelt runoff from mountainous basin located in the Tien-Shan. These evalua- tions were carried out according to the model described by Muzilev (1987)

Table 1 Runoff changes of the Kassansai River for the summer of 1980 under various scenarios (in % of runoff volume)
























- 8.3










- 3.5





- 8.4






- 2.9





L. S. Kuchmenî


The Table 1 shows that changes in precipitation (AP) entail nearly the same responses in the runoff volume (in lowland regions these changes are considerably grea- ter) . The effect of temperature (AT) variations is per- ceived even stronger then precipitation. Calculations of possible fluctuations of rainfall flood volumes were also carried out for two mountainous rivers. The Soliatinka in the Carpathians and the Rakovka in the Soviet Far East. Our studies show that the relative incre- ase of the rwnof is higher than that of precipitation. Thus, a 5% increase of precipitation entails 7% growth of the runoff, 10% increase in precipitation, 13% growth of the runoff, and more precipitation causes 20% more of runoff. In spite of the fact that runoff variations are in mountainous areas not so high as it is in arid zones, they should not be neglected in the long-term planning of water resources management.


Finally, some results already presented show that particu- lar problems inmountainous basins cannot be solved with the help of water balance method and have to be realised by mathematical modelling without additional input data. For some years our team (Kuchment, Demidov, Milukova, Motovi- lov and Smakhtin, 1983,1986) have been developing a phy- sically based rainfall-runoff model. The Golyatinka catch- ment of the Rika river basin was chosen as an experimen- tal one, where model verification and the estimation of parameters sensitivity were carried out. The catchment located in the territory of the Trans-Carpathian, with the area up to Maidan of 86 km 2 . One of the model's version was based on the basin presentation in the form of a one-dimensional slope of variable width. The follow- ing processes were taken into account:

- surface flow (kinetic wave equations were used),

- vertical moisture transfer in the zone of aeration (described by the equation of soil moisture diffu- sion) ,

- soil moisture evaporation (modification of the Pen- man method was used, allowing us to account the influence of vegetation and the moisture content in the upper soil layer),

- groundwater recharge and groundwater flow (the Boussinesq equation was used),

- subsurface flow (the convolution integral was used).

Rainfall flood values of the five years observation period were used for the parameters calibration. Testing runs were carried out on the basis of 15 years observa- tion period. The calculations showed that described ver- sion of the physically-based model satisfactorily repro- duces the temporal variability of evaporation, the soil moisture content, groundwater levels and the runoff


Water balance as a basis for water resources estimation

hydrograph at the outlet gauge. All this allows us to use the model for the separation of subsurface flow which in other experimental studies is connected with considerable difficulties. It turns out that the share of subsurface flow in the Golyatinka river runoff consti- tutes 26-58% of the total rainfall flood volume. Lag time of subsurface flow is 3 times longer than the correspon- ding time for the surface flow. The model also allows to study a mechanism of extreme discharge formation. Another version of a physically-based model of rain- fall flood formation presents the watershed in the form a two-dimensional grid, where the channel network is schematized by straight lines, parallel to the coordina- ted axes. This version of the model is primarily designed to account the interaction of surface and groundwater flows, both in the basin (through the zone of aeration) and in the channel network. The equations of the two-di- mensional kinetic wave are used to describe subsurface flow, the equations of one-dimensional kinetic wave describe water movement in the channel network. Equa- tions of soil moisture diffusion and empiric relations for the calculation of évapotranspiration allow us to calculate vertical moisture transfer. Two-dimensional Boussinesq equations were used to describe groundwater and subsurface flow. (The coefficient of seepage in the groundwater was adopted 0.6 m/day - by means of calibra- tion - and the coefficient of seepage in the upper 30 cm layer, where subsurface flow occurs, was assigned 200 m/day). After the calibration and verification the model was used in numerical experiments on the estimation of the effect of deforestation and afforestation in the basin. The model was also used to estimate the influence of groundwater development on the runoff hydrograph. The experiments show that the deforestation in the Golyatinka river basin can reduce the volume of subsurface flow 2 times, and the ratio between surface and subsurface flows largely depends on forest management in the watershed. The Figure 1 presents the results of experiments on the estimation of groundwater on the spatial distribution of subsurface flow depth and on runoff hydrograph. The initial position of the groundwater level before the rainfall flood can considerably affect the active area o f mountainous watershed and the runff formation even if the ratio between the main components of the water balance (precipitation, évapotranspiration, total runoff) remains unchanged.


The papers, submitted to the Workshop, are appreciable contributions into the investigation of water balance components of mountainous basins and their interactions. At the same time they have rather fragmentary character.

L. S. Kuchment


It clearly shows the importance to continue in the stu- dies of hydrological cycle in mountainous areas. The knowledge and experiences in mountains are usually very difficult to achieve.

QtnrPs 1 )

Fig.l Measured and calculated discharges under various initial value of groundwater levels in the near- channel zone (Z) of the basin (September 6, 1966)

1 - Measured

2 - Calculated

3 - Calculated

4 - Calculated

Z = 0.4 m

Z = 0.5 m

Z = 0.6 m


Kuchment, L.S. , Demidov, V.N. , Motovilov, J.S. (19 83) Formirovanie rechnogo stoka. Fiziko-matematicheskie modeli (River runoff formation. Physically based models). Nauka. Moscow, p. 216 Muzilev, E.L. (1987) Modelirovanie stoka gornych rek i sputnikovaya informacia (Modelling mountainous river runoff and remote sensing information). Nauka. Moscow, p.136

Hydrology ofMountainous Areas (Proceedings of the Strbské Pleso Workshop, Czechoslovakia, June 1988). IAHS Publ. no. 190,1990.

Surface water and groundwater interactions in mountainous areas

J. SILAR Charles University, Prague, Czechoslovakia


Till now, hydrology of mountainous areas has not been emphasized much among other special hydrological problems. Headlines as Arid Zone Hydrology, Hydrology of Deltaic Areas, Hydrology of Lakes, Urban Hydrology and even Air- port Hydrology can be found among the names of symposia and in contents of textbooks but few hydrologists seem to have felt the necessity to emphasize mountainous areas as a specific type of hydrological systems and even less the relationships between surface and groundwater as a special problem. Perhaps we have been underestimating the significance of groundwater in the mountainous areas as we are used to develop it in large basins with extending aquifers in lowlands. But hydrology of mountainous areas is specific in regard of space(due to the morphological configuration of surface and geological setting of the bedrock), of time (due to the course of the hydrological events), and of the quality of the environment (especial- ly due to particular climate, soil cover and vegetation). The terms mountain and mountainous have a very wide meaning but in geomorphology, they are specified. In accordance with the current definitions (Glossary of Geology, 19 80) , we should consider mountainous areas as those which are characterised by their morphology, i.e. by their sloping and dissected surface, with peaks pro- jecting at least about 300 m above the surroudings. Ha- ving a considerably simple definition of the mountains and mountainous areas we could be tempted to simplify also the hydrological phenomena relating them to the al- titude and to the morphology. We know, however, that hydrological phenomena including the relationship between surface and groundwater depend, besides the altitude and morphology, also on numerous other factors as e.g. cli- matic conditions, geological composition and structure of the bedrock, soil cover, vegetation, human activities and other. Some of the aspects and conclusions are quite contraversial. Some hydrologists emphasize that forested areas slow down the direct surface runoff and that fo- rests promote infiltration and groundwater recharge, while others conclude that they increase évapotranspi- ration thus preventing groundwater recharge. However, our observations so far are often superficial and we still lack exact data to come to some unambiguous

/. Silar


quantitative conclusions. Moreover, the Earth's surface and the structure of the Earth's crust are too much variegated to allow to make some generally valid conclu- sions. From the history of groundwater hydrology is well known that an inadequate approach and generalization of results of scientific observations may lead to absurd and contradicting conclusions if local natural conditions are not considered.


Modern hydrology elaborated efficient methods to analyse the major part of hydrological processes and, with some exceptions, to provide very accurate data and to process them in a statistical way. Modelling has been introduced for analysing hydrological processes influenced by multi- ple natural factors as well as for studying the effect of the combined factors on the hydrologie phenomena resulting from a process. The computer techniques have made a con- siderable progress and complex processes, systems and whole physical fields can be modelled using sophisticated computers and programs. No model, however, can work if it does not represent the natural conditions of the subject hydrological process. A week point seems to be the lack of understanding the substance of the natural processes and of the mutual relations between natural phenomena. The computation and modelling methods seem to have outrun the knowledge of natural processes and the working met- hods of obtaining reliable input data necessary for the models. In groundwater hydrology, we still have difficul- ties in inserting right values of évapotranspiration into the hydrological balance equation, in estimating the in- filtration and determining the actual extent of the drai- nage basin. On the other hand, efficient geophysical and tracer methods have been introduced to follow the ground- water flow direction and speed. Geochemical methods are used for studying the interactions of water and rocks, the transport of pollutants, the quality of groundwater, and equilibria of the chemical constituents. Environmen- tal isotopes provide effective means for studying the hydrological cycle and identify the relations between its components. The proportion of the stable isotopes of oxygen and hydrogen helps to study the climatic circum- stances under which groundwater originated and to sepa- rate stream hydrographs, the altitude gradient of the oxygen 18 0 to determine the altitude of the groundwater recharge area, and to study other problems. The radio- nucles tritium and radiocarbon introduce the dimension of time into groundwater hydrology. We have various hydrometric, analytical, data processing and modelling methods at hand, but we often do not use them (apart of economic reasons) because we do not know the nature of the hydrological process or have no reliable input


Surface water and groundwater interactions

data to model it. But when regarding literature dealing with the interactions of surface water and groundwater, it seems that we often limit our attention to the physi- cal analysis of the hydrological processes and pay very little attention to the composition and structure of the natural environment where the processes occur, in detail as well as in large dimensions. Perhaps, it is the result of the effort to switch from the descriptive methods of natural sciences of the past to the modern quantitative methods which have at hand the effective computer tech- niques. In view of this, we should pay more attention to understanding of the environment where the hydrologi- cal processes and interactions of surface and groundwater occur. In hydrology of mountainous areas, the geomorphology should be named at the first place as it defines the mountainous areas, and as it is the most significant factor influencing the hydrological processes. The quan- titative expression of geomorphological features of drainage basins and channel networks is thoroughly analy- sed by Strahler (1964). Geomorphological features of a mountainous area can be expressed quantitatively and so related to the quantitative values expressing hydrologi- cal processes. In this way, the influence of the surface configuration upon the runoff and other processes can be analysed quite objectively. Areal aspects of drainage basins are often used for studying runoff but analysing surface gradients, hydrometric relations and dynamics of evolution of drainage basins is not yet common in hydro- logy. It is not only the surface morphology which is significant. In numerous mountainous areas, karst systems represent the most expressive form of the surface water and groundwater interaction which is controled by the morphology of the underground. The necessity to study the pecularities of karst hydrology should be emphasized as there has not been presented any paper on this subject at the Workshop. In numerous regions of the world, exten- sive karst system control the runoff as well as other hydrological processes and affect water management and hydraulic engineering. Classic karst areas are in the Balkan peninsula, 600 000 km 2 of continuous karst regions exist in southern China and other ones all around the world. They are specific by their fast evolution, by their underground drainage systems which concentrated outflow and by underground hydrographie connections for considerable distances disregarding the surface morpho- logy. The evolution of a hydrogeological structure in karst starts with the evolution of the groundwater circulation pathways. The secondary permeability along karst cavities which developed due to preferential groundwater circula- tion in some fissures becomes more significant and in- creases progressively in comparison with the rest of

J. Silar


fissures and of the primary interstices of the rock. So the permeability of the karstified environment becomes very heterogeneous. The distribution of the zones of increased permeability is controlled by lithological, structural, morphological, hydrological, and geochemical circumstance (Bogli, 1980). The karstification is an exogenetic process which continues as long as a hydraulic gradient exists which brings into motion calcium-carbonate undersaturated water in fissures of carbonate rocks. Hence, this evo- lution depends on the geomorphological processes which are linked with the stages of geological history. The stages of karst evolution can be dated according to sediments covering its surface or filling the cavities, and related to other geological events. Due to this, the evolution of hydrogeological structures in karst can be related to other geological phenomena and their extent and arrangement in the rock environment can be estimated to a certain degree. The groundwater circulation in karstified rocks is either limited to the rock masses above the drainage-base level or it may reach, according to the geological set- ting deep below it or even below the sea level. The hydrogeological structure according to the degree of karstification, may form independent groundwater conduits or, on the other hand, groundwater reservoirs which may be able to accumulate large volumes of water and equalize its discharge. All the facts resulting from the fast dynamic evolu- tion of the hydrogeological structures in karst are of crucial importance for groundwater research and manage- ment in karst regions, including prospection, evaluation of water resources, modelling, development, protection, saline water encroachment, leakage of reservoirs and other problems of practical significance. Karst is an environment which does not match our traditional ideas on groundwater hydraulics and hydrology. It is peculiar by its great diversity of phenomena, by the heterogeneity of its groundwater flow systems and by its change in time. Thus, it is difficult to express the groundwater flow in karst in a quantitative way using classic ground- water hydraulics. Even the course of hydrological pro- cesses is often different as demonstrated by Kullman (1986) on hydrographs of karst springs in the West Carpathians. Under such circumstances, the analysing of hydrological systems of karst by modelling becomes a useful method in the quantitative evaluation of the groundwater flow. Besides the hydrological input values, which can be obtained with a fair degree or reliability, a general idea on the spatial arrangement of the ground- water flow system is needed which can be obtained by geological and morphological analysis of the past evolu- tion and of the present-day state of the karst.


Surface water and groundwater interactions

In hydrology of mountainous areas, we should also pay more attention to the quality and structure of the envi- ronment below the surface, which is a significant factor of the surface and groundwater interactions, i.e. we should emphasize the geological aspects of the problems. A "pure hydrologist" is usually tempted to limit his considerations to the orographic drainage basin which he assumes to be a sort of black box model. A look at a geological section of mountainous system, however, shows the complexity of the groundwater flow in the bedrock, as well as in the covering formations. Very often, it also explains the irregularities and anomalies observed in hydrological processes. Even in non-karstified rocks exist streams recharging neighboured drainage basins. The dissected surface of mountainous areas with complex and faulted geological structures in the bedrock and with high hydraulic gradients between valleys presents such examples almost anywhere in the world. It is evident that it is difficult to compile hydrological balance under such circumstances without investigating the hydrogeolo- gical conditions of the bedrock. Regarding the surface water and groundwater inter- actions, we should also consider the specific time-rela- ted aspect of hydrological processes. In general, in mountainous areas the course of various hydrological phe- nomena is faster than in lowlands, mainly because of higher hydraulic gradients, higher flow velocities and faster transmitting of hydraulic impulses. This results in a higher range of fluctuation of discharge of streams and springs. This phenomenon relates mainly to processes linked with a shallow groundwater circulation. But in mountainous regions, we also have evidence of a deep groundwater circulation, as indicated by warm springs which mainly occur in mountainous and hilly regions affec- ted by tectonics. Due to the dissection of surface and due to the resulting high hydraulic gradients, a deep penetration of water from the surface to the depth and an ascent along tectonic faults are frequent. The deep groundwater circulation often involves large hydrogeolo- gical structures and usually is very slow which is also reflected in a very high residence time of groundwater, sometimes reaching back to the geological past. In such cases we should take up the right attitude towards the meaning of time in hydrology and towards the hydrological cycle. In hydrology, we are still used to consider the hydrological cycle on the long-term as a steady process which results from the periodicity of hydrological pheno- mena and from equalizing their effects during the sub- sequent hydrological years. However, we know that the residence time of groundwater is much longer than that of atmospheric and surface water, and therefore, when considering the groundwater circulation we correspondingly

/. Silar


should adopt a different time scale than a hydrological year. Under such circumstances we have to calculate with a very long time lag between the groundwater recharge and its discharge. If this time lag or residence time exceeds the duration of the period of Holocene, i.e. about 10 000 years, then the conditions of the groundwa- ter recharge have to be considered different than those of discharge due to the different climate. Then, con- sequently the groundwater flow has to be considered a non stationary process. Regarding the surface and groundwater interactions, we also should pay more attention to the environment where the interaction occurres, i.e. to the soil cover and vegetation. Soil as well as vegetation are generally poor or are missing in the arctic as well as in hot arid regions, whereas they are abundant in temperate zones and are very specific in tropical, humid zones. When realizing the differences between tropical lateritic soils in Africa, the thick loess deposits in East Asia and the multitude of soil types with very different physical properties in other continents, we cannot expect that we will obtain unequivocal and generally valid conclusions about the role of soil in the surface and groundwater interactions. The same relates, too, to the role of vegetation cover. Thus, the role of soil and vegetation should be analysed and the problems concluded in relation to the peculiarities of the particular cli- matic and geographic zones. It follows, that even the impact of agricultural activities, deforestation and grazing,in regard to the runoff process and the surface and groundwater interactions can result under different natural conditions in quite different and even opposite effects. Thus, the recent efforts to control the environ- ment by intentional activities influencing the soil co- ver and vegetation should be done very carefully taking into account the pecularities of the natural conditions and keeping in mind the possible consequences in the runoff process. So far, hydrology has been analysing processes which are repeating more or less regularly in short periods and, unlike geology, has not felt the necessity to study the history of the hydrosphere on a large scale and in the early past, because usually the last hydrological year or a few years provided enough hydrological data necessary for calculating the hydrological balance and for the statistical analyses used for predictions. The reason is mainly in the fact that the hydrological cycle, at least in the case of atmospheric and surface water, is much shorter than the geological cycle of the lito- sphere. While the geological history of the lithosphère is one of the main subjects in the geological sciences, the study of the history of hydrosphere has not been needed among hydrologists since the hydrological cycle


Surface water and groundwater interactions

could be observed, measured and studied very accurately during short and regular periods of time percepted by human senses within the human time scale. Long-term changes in the hydrosphere and in the hydro- logical cycle have been rather a subject of study of the geological history than of the hydrological research. Due to the impact of human activities, however, long-term changes of climate as well as of the hydrological cycle at an increasing rate have to be expected in future. To be able to predict such changes and to solve the resul- ting environmental problems, it seems necessary to adapt something of the geological way of thinking to analyse the past in order to predict the future not only in the short periods of the hydrological year but also in the long-term global history of the climate and of the hydro- sphere. In this context, we should pay more attention to paleo-hydrological studies, even in the mountainous regions using a complementary system of working methods.

For example the stable isotope concentration in ground- water and in glacier ice provides information about cli- mate at the time of their origin, while the concentration of radionuclides makes it possible to determine that time. In this way, isotope working methods provide valuable data in studying the evolution of climate in the past. In mountainous areas, even the analyses of glaciologi- cal and geomorphological phenomena provide useful means for studying the evolution of climate and hydrological cycle in the past and making conclusions for the future. The advance and/or retreat of glaciers indicated by the position of moraines is a sensitive indicator of the evolution of climate. The position of tufa deposits, river terraces and other geomorphological phenomena in relation to large springs provides information on the evolution of the groundwater circulation and groundwater

- surface water relation in the geological past and

future. In view of the anticipated environmental changes, it

seems necessary to extend our so far used marked with

a hydrological year as a unit of time to longer inter-

vals, even up to thousands of years, and to switch from

a short-term time scale to a long-term one. As result

of this, we should also switch from steady state to non- steady state conditions in order to comprise the long-

term and global changes of the hydrological cycle. If considering the rate of hydrological and geomorphological processes and the recent development of water resources, it follows that many of the environmental changes in the hydrological cycle will have to be accepted as irrever-

sible. For

example the change of runoff due to deforestation,

acid rains or cutting woods influences on the groundwater recharge and base flow. Furthermore, the overpumping and drainage of aquifers resulting in decline of groundwater levels and depleting groundwater resources as indicated

/. Silar


in numerous intermountainous basins and their alluvia in arid regions all over the world.


The key note should be finished with concluding which topical problems have to be tackled in the research of surface water and groundwater interactions. Of course, such conclusion remains very subjective one. However, the papers of the third topic allow to conclude, that we should continue in analysing the runoff process, investi- gating the influence of the geomorphological and geologi- cal conditions, developing and applying up to date analy- tical methods, e.g. environmental isotopes, and modelling hydrological processes related to the surface and ground- water interaction. Moreover, we should intensify the study of évapotranspiration and of the quality of the environment which influences the interaction, i.e. of the soil and vegetation cover. In the past, hydrology was developed under the views that water either was an element which was necessary to be controlled to prevent destruc- tion of human work, or it was a source of energy, or a valuable natural resource. In the temperate zones we have only subsequently realised the full significance of the latter aspect. But recently, another role of water arose, i.e. that of a transportation medium of pollutants not only on the surface but also within the soil and rocks. Understanding the environment of groundwater circulation will surely contribute to the solution of the very actual problems of surface water and groundwater interactions and also problems of the groundwater pollu- tion.


Bogli, A. (1980) Karst Hydrology and Physical Speleology. Springer - Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg, New York, 284 p. Kullman, E (1986) Karst Groundwater in the Western Car- pathians. Thesis, Comenius University, Bratislava Strahler, A.N. (1964) Geology, Part II, Quantitative Geo- morphology. In;Handbook of Applied Hydrology (ed. Ven Te Chow), McGraw-Hill Book Co., pp. 4-39 - 4-76

Hydrology of MountainousAreas (Proceedings of the Strbské Pleso Workshop, Czechoslovakia, June 1988). IAHS Publ. no. 190, 1990.

The modelling of mountain hydrology: the ultimate challenge

V. KLEMES President, International Association of Hydrological Sciences, National Hydrology Research Institute, 11 Innovation Blvd. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada


There is little doubt that many will regard the title of this paper as an exaggeration and will tend to attribute its choice to the author's notorious predilection for irritating the fellow hydrologists. After all, why should

the modelling of mountain hydrology be signed out from the great variety of hydrological modelling problems which all seem to be overwhelmingly difficult? If, as is often the case, one views hydrological modelling merely as the fitting of some more or less plausible mathematical con-

structs to

given sets of data so as to minimize the dif-

ference between the modelled and recorded time series of runoff, then there probably is no reason to single out mountain hydrology as the most challenging object of hydrological modelling. This, however, is not what I mean by hydrological modelling. Rather, I regard it as a syn- thesis of observed empirical facts and their theoretical understanding , expressed in terms of general (as opposed to ad hoc) and internally consistent quantitative rela- tionships formulated in computationally feasible algo- rithms. Viewed in this way, the above title seems justi- fied since observations of the states of nature in moun- tainous terrain are the most difficult to make and the processes governing mountain hydrology cover the widest range thus posing the greatest demands. oh:\thèoretical ida'der standing.

Before coming to the problems of modelling, it may therefore be proper to say a few words about each of these two prerequisites of it in order to be able to put the modelling aspects into a proper perspective.

The States of Nature

Mountains do not give up their secrets easily. This does not apply only to the proverbial yeti and sasquash but also to such mundane things like precipitation, snowcover or streamflow. The problem often is not what, from the scientific point of view, should be measured and observed, but what can be observed given the available logistics. The most formidable problem is accessibility on a conti- nuous basis. In mountainous terrain, this is not assured even where roads and permanent settlements exist. Where

V. Klemes


they do not we simply do not have observations of the phenomena of interest but only what can best be termed their random glimpses and often only guesses. When we want to draw the precipitation profile across a mountai- nous territory, it still will look like the sketch in Fig.l, although more than a quarter of a century has pas- sed since the latter had been compiled, we still can draw it only with dashed lines over the mountain peaks.

Fig.l Orography and precipitation profile across western Canada along the Canada-U.S.A. border (after Bruce and Clark, 1966)

To measure the snow cover, we have to organize mountain- eering expeditions and hire Olympic ski champions as observes. To measure streamflow in a mountain creek, we first have to pollute it with some chemical and measure its concentration as the best proxy - and yet, if we take our job seriously enough, we can draw the peaks of hydrographs only as dashed lines. It seems that the only feasible way to measure flood flows in mountain streams may be acoustic or seismic methods, that is to record, from a safe distance, the thundering sound and ground vibrations accompanying the associated "sediment trans- port" - the genuine rock music of rolling stones which, by the way, is much more inspiring than its various man- made substitutes. The problem of accessibility does not plague only measurement involving water but also geological mapping, the measurement of surface energy, wind speed and all


The modelling ofmountain hydrology

other phenomena in the boundary layer. A great step for- ward has been the introduction of remote sensing tech- niques which have already borne the fruit in topographic surveying, land-use and soil-type mapping and, most sig- nificantly for mountain hydrology, in the mapping of snow cover and lately in the measurement of the snow water equivalent. However, the problem of accessibility will remain a permanent one since ground measurements will be required for the validation of remotely sensed data and for some phenomena the former will remain the only source of information. The second problem is accuracy. In general, the accu- racy of measured hydrological variables is lower in mountainous terrain than it - is in flat terrain. The high slopes and strong wind affect the catch of precipitation gauges; the harsh conditions cause more frequent malfunc- tioning of instruments which leads to gaps in the records and causes inhomogeneity when instruments have to be changed or recalibrated; the accuracy of streamflow data suffers from the high instability of channel cross-sec- tions, frequent damage to the measuring weirs and stage recorders by coarse sediment and debris, or from the necessity to use dilution (tracer) methods which are inherently less accurate than conventional methods. An example illustrating the problem of accuracy is shown in Fig.2 adapted from Sevruk (1985). It represents only one aspect of the problem, namely the systematic error in precipitation measurement, but can serve as parts pro toto in demonstrating the inverse relationship between the accuracy of measurement and the "large-scale rough- ness" of the terrain. The third major problem in this category is represen-

tativeness . Even

necessary rather than where feasible and if their accu- racy could be brought under control, the problem of their areal representativeness would still remain a formidable obstacle to an accurate description of the state of nature. The areal representativeness of point observations is of course a general and pervasive problem in hydrology but it is most serious in mountainous ter- rain. Here the ubiquitous heterogeneity of the soil is combined with heterogeneities of the topography, ground cover, and with the extreme variability of most hydro- logical and meteorological components. The main hope for improvement resides in the perfection of remote sensing techniques and their ability to supply areal distribu- tions or at least areally integrated or averaged quan- tities, since a reliable reconstruction of the states of nature from point measurements is often virtually impossible in mountainous terrain.

An illustration of the combined effect of the major problems described above is the fact that in some mountain basins even such a basic hydrological state of

if observations could be made where

V. Klemes





Fig. 2 Systematic errors (required corrections in %) of precipitation measurements in Switzerland (after Sevruk, 1985)


772e modelling of mountain hydrology

nature as the components of a long-term water balance cannot be reliably established. Thus, for example, for two out of nine analyzed basins in the Canadian Cordil- leran region, Halstead (1967) found the mean annual runoff to be about 1.7 times higher than the mean annual precipitation, without being able to tell whether this was due to error in the precipitation data, in drainage area, or due to glacier melt or other factors (e.g. springs fed from adjacent basins).

Theoretical understanding

The increased difficulty of theoretical understanding of the processes shaping mountain hydrology resides in their wide range as well as in the wide range of the physical conditions over which they operate. For example, in terms of vegetation, surface temperature, surface water and groundwater regime, a single mountain slope may be seen as telescoping conditions from subtropical to arctic, that is over thousands of kilometres and tens of degrees of latitude in flat region. Surface water velocities range from free conditions to supercritical and subcritical as the mountain slopes change from verti- cal walls to flat alluvial plains in the valeys. Response times to precipitation input may vary from minutes to centuries depending on whether it enters the basin on clear slopes with southern exposures or north slopes with glaciers. The orographic influence injects into areal precipitation distribution a variability surpassing the highest extremes observable in flat terrain and the same is true for the distribution of temperature. Sharp and temporally stable discontinuities in irradiation fre- quently develop as mountain ranges form vast cloud reservoirs on their one side while the other is under clear blue skies as one can frequently observe when, for instance, traveling over the St. Gotthard pass in the Alps or crossing the Coastal range in California. It is in mountain hydrology where the claim that many hydrological problems require an interdisciplinary approach can perhaps best be demonstrated. Thus in mountain hydrology there meet the disciplines of hydro- logy, glaciology, climatology, boundary layer meteorolo- gy, geomorphology, geophysics and geology, and the interplay of the corresponding processes raises the complexity of the theoretical understanding of hydrologi- cal phenomena - which in many respects integrate the effects of the other processes - above the level encoun- tered in most other natural settings. This intrinsic theoretical complexity, combined with the aforementioned difficulties encountered in connection with gathering the empirical knowledge give a justification for the title of this paper and provide the necessary perspective for the hydrological modelling which aims at a simulation

V. Klemes


of the empirical facts based on a quantitative represen- tation of the underlying physical processes.


There is a large body of literature on hydrological modelling in mountainous areas whose systematic critical review is beyond the scope of one paper and would be more properly addressed in a monograph form. Here I would like to emphasize some aspects that have emerged as having a greater importance in the context of mountain hydrology than they may have in other contexts. At a general level, an important problem is that of scale of the modelled prototype which to a large extent defines the very meaning of the designation "mountainous" basin. While in other contexts the scale usually has only the connotation of the areal size, in the context of mountain hydrology its important aspect is the height of the mountains since different processes will dominate the runoff say, in the Himalays and in the Jizera Moun- tains. The vertical aspect of scale has a direct rele- vance to the effective structuring of a hydrological model, its parametrization, the extent of lumping and, in particular, the type of lumping - while in low mountains, horizontal lumping by sub-basins may be effective, ver- tical lumping by elevation zones may be the only produc- tive way in high mountains. This immediately suggests that, for different climates, there may be transitional ranges of vertical scale where none of the lumping sche- mes may work well and, on the other hand, ranges with optimal performance potentials for different model struc- tures. Similar patterns may exist for the horizontal scale of lumping and, of course, the performance at various combinations of the vertical and horizontal scales will further depend on the scale at which the processes are lumped in the time dimension. In other words, in mountain hydrology the qualitative problems of scale discussed at an earlier occasion (Klemes, 1983) acquire one additional dimension. The notion of scale is. also important for the meaning of the designations of model structures as "lumped" or "distributed", especially when the latter is applied to the areal dimension. The intrinsic relativity of such a differentiation follows from the fact that every element of a distributed model is in itself a lumped representation of many smaller-scale elements. On the other hand, a limped model may easily become an element of a distributed model of a larger basin. Awareness of this aspect of scale is especially important at inter- national meetings such as this where notions of scale and size are of necessity influenced by the national origins of the participants. This is illustrated in


The modelling ofmountain hydrology

Fig. 3 where the basin of the South Saskatchewan River at the City of Saskatoon is drawn to the same scale as

the territory of Czechoslovakia (the area of the former

is 140 000 km 2 and that of the latter 120 000 km 2 ).It

may be noted that the relative prominence of the South Saskatchewan river basin in the Canadian context would be comparable to that of the Orava River basin (the shaded area on the map) in the Czechoslovakian context. To pursue these perceptional analogies one step further, it may be noted that a sub-basin slightly larger than that of the Orava River is identified as a basin of a creek in the context of the South Saskatchewan River. It is not unlikely that such seemingly superficial differences may influence the attitudes of hydrologists of different countries to the use of lumped and distributed models in similar settings (in absolute terms, the Orava River and the Willow Creek could be considered to have similar mountain basins).

Coming now to the specific of the modelling problem, the issues that deserve special attention in the mountain hydrology context will be listed under the following three categories; model inputs, model structure and model outputs.

Model Inputs

There are two important features that distinguish moun- tain hydrology models on the input side. The first is that the input is not identical with precipitation only as is the case in other hydrological models but includes energy inputs as an indispensable component. While in the classical "rainfall-runoff" type of model energy inputs are required only to determine the évapotranspiration output from the basin, in mountain hydrology models they are essential to determine the "active" portion of the total precipitation input, i.e. to separate the liquid part which immediately contributes to runoff from the solid part which remains temporarily inactive in storage. To achieve this, mountain hydrology models must incorpo- rate elements of snow-melt and glacier-runoff models. The second feature which is less obvious to an out- sider but is perhaps the most important one is that, unlike in a standard hydrological model, the inputs typi- cally are not simply "entered" into it but must them- selves be first modelled. This necessity arises from the fact discussed earlier, i.e. that measurement of preci- pitation and energy inputs can often not be made where they are most needed but only where they are technically feasible - usually in the accessible mountain valleys. Thus what in the standard models is merely a "processing" of inputs (typically a simple or weighted areal averaging of point measurements) becomes input modelling in moun- tain hydrology. Its aim is to estimate, from the scarce

V. Klemes




\y- J

»"--U.- N





























~ U.S.A.


Fig.3 Illustration of perceptual aspects of scale (the map of Czechoslovakia and that of the South Saskatchewan River basin in Saskatoon are drawn to the same scales)


The modelling ofmountain hydrology

and ineffectively located point measurements of precipi- tation and energy components, the areal and elevation distributions of (a) precipitation amounts, (b) precipi- tatio n form, and (c) energy (or at least temperature) . Considering the complexities of mountain topography, the related variability of microclimate and the problem of accuracy of the available measurements (Fig.2), it is often the case that the "input modelling" represents the most important and elaborate part of a mountain hydrolo- gy model. A direct mapping of the distributions of the precipitation and energy inputs would represent a radical simplification of this aspect of mountain hydrology models and an improvement of their effectiveness. A good example of this potential is the model of Martinec (1975) , which uses the observed snow cover area as one of the major inputs (see below).

Model Structure

While it is customary to classify models, in terms of their structure, as either lumped or distributed, such

a classification is not very helpful unless it is applied to a specific basin, i.e. unless related to scale as discussed earlier. A more informative approach, especially in mountain hydrology modelling where the physical prototype is

extremely complex and variable, may be to view models in appropriate position on a continuous "system spectrum" covering the range between purely black-box (correlation) models ignoring the physical mechanisms, to white-box models trying to account for them explicitely. This systems dimension will always be accompanied by two dimensions of the coarseness of the representation (in space and time) whose lower limits are one element, i.e.

a totally lumped spatial representation, and one time

interval, i.e. totally lumped temporal representation (long-term averages). The nature of mountain basins generally requires whiter and finer-grid models than flat basins of compa- rable size to yield results of comparable accuracy. However, it would be wrong to press the whiteness and the spatial and temporal detail too far regardless of other consideration. One of them is the purpose of the model. Models inten-

ded, for example, for an assessment of the impact of land use change or acid precipitation on stream conditions for the support of various types of aquatic fauna will have to be whiter and have a finer resolution than models for an assessment of runoff volume for the purpose of hydro-power generation; a model for the simulation of

a time series of daily flows may have a different opti-

mal structure than a model for peak-flow forcasting of flash floods, etc.

V. Klemes


Another consideration is the available data and their quality. If the structural refinement of the model ex- ceeds the "carrying capacity" of the data the effective- ness of the model will decrease rather than increase. This is an extremely important consideration in view of the various deficiencies of inputs in mountainous terrain discussed earlier. Yet another factor which carries much more significance in mountain hydrology models than elsewhere is the type of parametrization employed. There are as yet few general rules and much depends on the specific physical condi- tions of the basin being modelled. However, it seems to be borne out by the experience available so far that robust features integrating the effects of several causal factors are more effective as model parameters than a detailed simulation of the integrating process within the model because of the danger of the cumulative effect of even minor systematic errors that may be present in the measurements. A related problem of the structure is the dichotomy between "conceptual" and "direct" parametrization, i.e. between the use of optimized parameters derived by cali- bration of the model on measured outputs, and parameters computed directly from the measured physical characteris- tics of the prototype. The advantage of the former appro- ach is that the various systematic errors in the data can be filtered out but this is achieved at a cost of the model's reduced applicability and, indeed, credibility since the physical interpretation of the parameters is compromised; the effects of errors in the data and in model structure can compensate each other so that the model may give plausible results for the wrong reasons and may fail under conditions different from those pre- vailing in the calibration data set. Some of these aspects of mountain hydrology modelling can be profitably studied in the recently released WMO report on Intercomparison of Models of Snowmelt Runoff (WMO, 1986) where several models with different structu- res were applied to several mountainous basins ranging

in area from 8.4 km 2 to 2170 km 2 and in elevation diffe-

from a few hundred to 3000 m.

rence An illustrative example from the WMO (1986) study is presented in Figs. 4a and 4b. They show simulated stream- flows for two different basins as obtained by two models with different structures. One of them is the above mentioned model of Martinec which has a rather coarse physically based empirical structure and uses only six parameters, all of them externally derived (i.e. none obtained through calibration). It has been selected here because it has the smallest number of parameters of all the models featured in the study and the only one not requiring calibration. The other selected model, develo- ped by Morin (WMO, 1986, III.6), represents the other


The modelling ofmountain hydrology




























« P

Fig. 4a Observed and computed daily streamflow hydrographs in the Durance river (France) for four consecutive years (from top to bottom, 1975-6 to 1978-9). Left: Morin model; right: Martinec model (adapted from WMO,1986)

V. Klemes



























Fig. 4b Observed and computed daily streamflow hydrographs in the Dischma basin (Switzerland) for four consecutive years (from top to bottom, 1975-6 to 1978-9). Left: Morin model; right:

Martinec model (adapted from WMO, 1986)


The modelling ofmountain hydrology

end of the spectrum and has the highest number of para- meters; their number is 31 (plus four basin-related parameters for each sub-basin) and 2 8 of them are derived by calibration. Despite this large difference between the two models, their results are comparable, both on the relatively large Durance basin and the small Dischma basin, the Morin model showing an apparent exaggeration of the basin responsiveness to inputs, especially during dry periods, while the Martinec model showing a slight systematic underestimation of the low flows. It would be wrong to "rate" the performances of the models but the results demonstrate that appropriate parametrization and direct inputs of the right kind (in this case the snow cover area in Martinec's model) may significantly in- crease the parsimony of a model without necessarily sacrificing its performance accuracy. The problem of the "shade of grey" of models is often blurred, especially in the so called conceptual models where the often unknown internal processes and their interactions are replaced by postulated ones which are fitted into structures designed more to satisfy our preconceived ideas than to describe the actual physical prototype. While on the surface such models may appear rather white, in reality they may be very dark grey since many of their "physical" elements with calibrate parame- ters may be just regression variables in disguise, their real function being to supply the number of the degrees of freedom necessary for the success of the model fitting exercise. One general comment on the structure of mountain hydrology models may be of interest. Most mountain hydro- logy models incorporate, in one form or another, an assumption that the snowpack, the glacier subsystem, the groundwater subsystem, or sections of the whole basins behave like linear systems, i.e. that during input-free periods their water releases follow exponential recession curves which can be superimposed to yield the total runoff. While this may be so in certain situations, there is no reason why it should be a general rule. Actually, there are indications that strong nonlinearities and threshold effects may operate under many types of conditions typi- cal to mountainous watersheds, for example the "ridge effect" of a sudden saturation of some soil strata follo- wed by a sudden surge of groundwater runoff, release of liquid water from firn, temperature-controlled glacier melt and infiltration of meltwater into the soil and, especially in high mountains in warm climates such as the Himalayas, the rather frequent occurrences of sudden transfers of large volumes of snow and ice into low elevation zones by avalanches with the consequent acce- leration of their melting rates. It is well known that the same recession curves may result from many different combinations of linear and nonlinear types of storage

V. Klemes


release and that relying on them for system identifica- tion is unreliable. It is therefore important to study the actual behaviour of the various components and their interactions because without this knowledge and its incorporation into models it is unlikely that the present- ly poor model transferability will be significantly improved.

Model Outputs

It is quite a general feature of mountain hydrology mo- dels that the site at which the streamflow is to be simu- lated or forecast is itself outside the mountain environ- ment proper, i.e. in a well established part of the river channel in the valley, which may be rather far from the mountain slopes where the runoff is generated. Since most models are fine-tuned by calibration on the measured streamflow at such a site their conceptual soundness (whiteness) can be corrupted while their performance is being "improved". The point is that the streamflow at the output site contains components not explicitly represented by the model, such as hidden sinks and sources, effects of unaccounted for internal mechanisms (e.g. embedded evaporation - condensation cycles, unknown heterogenei- ties in the soil or glacier matrix, etc.) and last but not least, systematic and random errors in streamflow measurements. As noted earlier, the calibration process forces the compensation of these factors by adjustments of parameters which, especially in automatic calibration producers, are often not done on the basis of their physical soundness but rather on the basis of output sensitivity to the various changes. In this manner, the soundest components of a model can be corrupted while components of dubious value may remain undetected. This all points to the fact that a systematic improvement of models relying on output-based calibration is difficult which is especially true for mountain hydrology models where there are more unknowns and where the physical setting is more complex that in other environments.


Because of the higher complexity and variety of the processes to be modelled and the greater difficulty of their observation and measurement than is the case in other natural settings, mountain hydrology modelling highlights some important latent problems of contempo- rary hydrology and points the way to their solution more clearly than it would otherwise be apparent. Thus it calls for a restructuring of hydrological education along the line of the geophysical disciplines treating the processes that shape the hydrologie cycle. This seems to be an obvious precondition for an informed


The modelling ofmountain hydrology

interpretation of the observed geophysical phenomena that are to be modelled but so far it does not seem to have been recognized. Hydrologists are still being trained mostly as engineering technologists rather than as earth scientists. It has been adopted as one of the priorities of the IAHS to initiate, in collaboration with UNESCO and its International Hydrological Program, a change in this direction. Another aspect of hydrology that mountain hydrology modelling makes painfully obvious is the importance of areal mapping of hydrological and other geophysical variables and the inadequacy of the traditional point measurements which are the legacy of the century old technology. It is embarrassing that in an era when man can measure physical conditions on the outer planets and, indeed, in distant galaxies, he often has no direct observations of conditions on this earth, conditions which are much more vital to his welfare. It is doubly embar- rassing since much of the needed technology is now avai- lable and it often is only a matter of redistribution of resources and of an updating of the scientific and tech- nology background of operational personnel in order that it can be employed. An important initiative in this direction has just been started jointly by the World Climate Research Program of WMO and the International Council of Scientific Unions. It is called the Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment (GEWEX) and one of its main goals is to improve, with the aid of advanced space- based technology, the observations of areal distribution of phenomena important for the modelling of land-surface processes, the most important being identified as the hydrological processes. Since mountain areas belong to the most important source areas of surface runoff, moun- tain hydrology can greatly benefit from the GEWEX project and the IAHS will welcome ideas along these lines from the hydrological community.


Bruce, J.P. and Clark, R.H. (1966) Introduction to hydro- meteorology. Pergamon, Oxford

Halstead, E.C. (1967) Cordilleran hydrogeological region. In: I.C.Brown (editor) Groundwater in Canada, Geologi-

cal Survey of Canada

Ottawa, pp. 159-172

Klemes, V. (1983) Conceptualization and scale in hydrolo- gy. Journal of Hydrology, Vol.65, pp.1-23 Martinec, J. (1975) Snowmelt-runoff model for streamflow forecasts. Nordic Hydrology, 6(3), pp. 145-154 Sevruk, B. (1985) Systematischer Niederschlagsmessfehler in der Schweiz. In: B.Sevruk (editor) , Per Nieder- schlag in der Schweiz, Geogr.V. Bern, pp. 65-75 WMO (1986) Intercomparison of snowmelt runoff. Operatio - nal hydrology Report No.23, WMO, No.646, Geneva

2 Integral Data Networks, Hydrometeorological Data Collection and Processing in Mountainous Areas

Convenor: G. GIETL

Hydrology of Mountainous Areas (Proceedings of the Strbské Pleso Workshop, Czechoslovakia, June IAHS Publ. no. 190, 1990.

Measurement and processing of atmospheric precipitation in mountainous areas of Slovakia

M. LAPIN Slovak Hydrometeorological Institute, Bratislava, Czechoslovakia


atmospheric precipitation on the territory of Slovakia especially in mountainous areas. Errors, which can influ- ence precipitation measurements by means of raingauges METRA and totalizers are given. The paper presents a short review of the methods of corrections of these errors of precipitations measurements and method of processing of precipitation data.

The paper informs about the measurement of


Territory of the Slovakia, with the area of almost 50 000, presents a little bit more than one third of the territory of Czechoslovakia. From this area, 37.3% present areas with height more than 500 m a.s.l. and 5.4% more than 1000 m a.s.l. In absolute values, it presents 18 294 and 2 627 of the area respectively. In addi- tion 49 of the territory have the altitude more than 2 000 m a.s.l. Mentioned data do not express quite satisfactorily the orographic zoning of Slovakia with many valleys and mountain ridges of various orientations (Fig.l). At present, the precipitation network over the terri- tory of Slovakia consists of approximately 700 precipi- tation stations equipped by the rain gauge METRA 886, made in Czechoslovakia. METRA 886 rain gauge has the orifice of 500 in the height of 1 m above the ground. Routine precipitation measurements are made once a day at 07,00 hrs of mean local time,and at the sta- tions of the higher order also at 14,00, 19,00 and 21,00 hrs. In localities with more than 500 m a.s.l., there are 32% of precipitation stations, but this percentage has gradually decreasing tendency because of depopula- tion of mountainous areas. Standard METRA 886 rain gau- ges are used without a wind shield, only few mountainous stations are provided with paralel observations by rain gauges equipped with the Nipher wind shields. During the warm period is used the rain gauge completed with funnel, in cold period of the year the observation is done by the larger outer container of rain gauge only. Besides of the mentioned 700 precipitation stations, the precipitation also are measured by 49 totalizers twice a year. Out of them 24 totalizers have only insigni- ficantly interrupted observation series from 15 to 40 years (7 are situated higher than 1 500 m a.s.l. and 17

M. Lapin


from 750 to 1 500 m a.s.l.) and 25 totalizers have shorter or interrupted observation series (12 are situa- ted higher than 1 500 m a.s.l. and 11 from 500 to 1 500 m a.s.l.)

Fig. 1 Map of Slovakia with marked contour lines af altitude 300 and 1 000 m a.s.l.

Precipitation measurements are loaded by various sys- tematic, as well as occasional errors. These problems have to be solved by higher quality of measurements but also in the process of precipitation elaboration for practical needs. The problem of data processing is more complicated because of the fact, that in the last century there was changed the type of rain gauge at least twice, the observation series longer than 85 years exist at approximately 200 precipitation stations.


As already mentioned, the precipitation measurements are affected by various errors, size of which depends on the type of station, on the rain gauge used and on climatic-geographical characteristics of locality where the rain gauge is situated. On the territory of Slovakia, precipitation are observed by three types of the stations. The most qualitative appear to be 21 professional sta- tions, at which occurrence of any precipitation, falling as well as deposited ones, are measured in details. Precipitation observations on 80 voluntary meteorologi- cal stations are indeed of sufficient quality, and the


Measurement andprocessing of atmospheric precipitation

rest of almost 600 voluntary precipitation stations pre- sents mixture of very good, moderate and unsatisfactory results. Relatively frequently occur (at bad stations) missing of observations lasting few days or even weeks, some observers systematically neglect small precipitation amounts, some of them do not pay attention to measure- ments of solid precipitation and some rain gauges are unsuitably replaced into vicinity of larger obstacles. Precipitation observations using totalizers are also influenced by série of errors, which are necessary to be taken in account at the time of processing. Measurements are regularly provided by professionals which observe standard procedures and also made technical check-up on totalizers ancLctther icircumstances which could effect the measurements. In spite of this, some precipitation totals measured by totalizers are evidently incorrect. Errors of measurements can be caused by following effects:

decline of the orifice of totalizers, icing, snow drif- ting, near obstacles, influences of people, incorrect anti-freeze mixture, missing oil layer, mistakes of measurement and so on. However, in any precipitation measurement, there appears the whole série of systematic errors which could not be avoided without changing the measurement procedure and/or the instrument. The most serious appear to be systematic errors as a result of wind influence on fal- ling precipitation, further errors caused by evaporation from rain gauge and by wetting of the walls of rain gauge and measuring vessel. As demonstrated further, accidental as well as systematic errors of precipitation measurements are greater at solid precipitation than at liquid ones.




As mentioned above, the three main systematic errors of precipitation measurements by METRA 886 rain gauge could not be avoided in measurement process. But they could be quantified and eliminated during the precipitation pro-

cessing by means of suitable correction coefficients. Errors resulting from wetting of walls of rain gauge and measuring vessel depend mainly on the area of moistened walls and on distribution of daily precipitation totals. By the statistic elaboration of some hundreds of simula- ted precipitation measurements by new, as well as used rain gauges and with the winter and summer version of


METRA 88 6 rain gauge, we have obtained errors within


range 0.0 6 - 0.3 0 m m per one measurement . Finally,

there were proposed the following corrections: 0.1 mm per one precipitation measurement by summer rain gauge version without regard to the amount of measured preci- pitation, and by winter rain gauge version for measured precipitation totals less than 1 mm; 0.2 m m per one

M. Lapin


precipitation measurement by winter rain gauge version

for measured precipitation totals 1 mm and more. These corrections can be applied on correction of the long- term precipitation totals and in average they present increasing of precipitation totals from 1.2% (August at lowlands) to 5% (winter months in mountains). Yearly precipitation totals will increase after correction of

moistening by

Samaj, 1986) . Errors as a result of precipitation water evaporation depend mainly on meteorological conditions (air tempera- ture, solar radiation, wind, air humudity), further on duration since the precipitation water is in rain gauge and on the rain gauge version (summer and winter versions). Very important role is also played by the colour of outer paint of rain gauge and seal of funnel by summer rain gauge version. It became clear that the size of error depends also on the precipitation amount. In the Fig.2 there is illustrated dependence of hourly evapo- ration intensities from rain gauge on air temperature, determined by linear regression from simulated precipi- tation measurements over different meteorological condi- tions. In localities up to 500 m above the sea level, loss of precipitation water in result of evaporation from rain gauge presents approximately 5.5% of yearly preci- pitation total (in warm half of year 3.2% and in cold one 9.9%). With the elevation this value systematically decreases in connection with a drop of air temperature, but in localities above 1 700 m a.s.l., where all the year round the winter rain gauge version is used, this error is comparable with the lowland localities (Lapin et al.,1985).

1.5 to 2% (Lapin et al. , 1985, Lapin and














-8- 4



8 12 16 20 241 fc]

Fig.2 Dependence of mean hourly evaporation sum from METRA 8 86 rain gauge on air temperature. (Winter version of rain gauge - solid lines, summer version of rain gauge - dashed lines, 1 - for daily precipitation total< 1mm, 2 - for

1-4,9 mm, 3 for i5



Measurement andprocessing of atmospheric precipitation

Errors in result of aerodynamic effect on falling pre- cipitation depend predominantly on share of solid precipi- tation in the all-round precipitation total at the given station (Golubev, 197 0; Struzer and Golubev, 19 7 6; Sevruk and Hamson, 1984 and others). Errors become greater with increasing wind velocity and they are substantially greater by solid than by liquid precipitation (Fig.3).









3,0 4,0u[m-s]

Fig.3 Dependence of correction coefficient K on wind velocity u measured in height 2 m for solid (S), mixed (Z) and liquid (L) precipitation

According to results of measurements in the observatory in Bratislava-Koliba, values of correction coefficients

Kx for liquid precipitation vary from 1.03 to 1.07 at win d velocity of 0.5 to 4.5 m.s""l, and for solid precipi - tation from 1.09 to 1.94 at the same wind velocity measu-

ground. These results can be

generalized for all the stations on the territory of Slovakia with the exception of ridge locations as well as strong windy ones. In height of 500 m a.s.l. the value of Kx reaches in January about 1.15 and from May to September about 1.03. With increasing elevation,

there is increase of snow precipitation, and period with the snow falling become longer, and therefore, the value of Kx also increases. Annual correction of Kx in the

height of 500 m a.s.l. is

about 1.13. Correction of measured precipitation totals

red at 2 m height above the

about 1.0 6 and in 1 500 m a.s.l.

M. Lapin


for the wind effect is proposed by Lapin et al.(1985) and Lapin, Samaj (1986) according to relation R = Kx.Rm, where R means corrected precipitation total and Rm mea- sured precipitation total corrected by errors of wetting and evaporation effects. For average windy localities in height of 500 m a.s.l. yearly sum of all systematic errors reaches about 15% of measured precipitation total, and in 1500 m a.s.l. and more about 21% (Lapin and §amaj, 1986).


Totalizers used for measurement of half-year precipita- tion sums in the Slovak mountains have orifice of 250 in the height of 2-4 m above the gorund and diame- ter of Nipher wind shield 95 cm. From the three already mentioned basic systematic errors only error in result of aerodynamic effect is of importance at totalizers. Error of the evaporation effect can be neglected and the error in result of wetting does not occur. According to extensive measurements on experimental polygon in Bratislava-Koliba, we come to the conclu- sion, that effectiveness of wind shields designed by Nipher and Tretyakov, is sufficient only up to the wind velocity of 3 m/s in the height of 2 m above the ground. At higher wind velocities, there appears reducing of differences between precipitation totals measured by rain gauge with the wind shield and without it (Lapin et al., 1985) . Totalizers are situated in very different localities, in various heights above sea level and in various exposi- tion with regard to wind conditions. That is why we ana- lysed half-year precipitation measurements by totalizers in cold and warm half-years in comparison with adjoining precipitation stations, where precipitation are measured by rain gauge without wind shield. In Table 1, there are mentioned relative precipitation totals of totalizers in % of precipitation totals at adjoining precipitation stations for period 1971- 1985 for warm and cold half- years. Results in Table 1 demonstrate,'that in spite of the fact that precipitation totals measured in totalizers are loaded by the whole série of errors, they reach sub- stantially greater totals in cold half-year than in warm one in comparison with adjoining precipitation stations. At all 24 totalizers, there were in warm half-year mea- sured in average about 32% more of precipitation than on compared stations, but in cold half-year it was about 69% of precipitation more. The greatest difference was obtained at mountain totalizer under the Svistovy stit (1925 m), where in warm half-year, there were about 39% of precipitation more, but in cold half-year about 193%


Measurement andprocessing of atmospheric precipitation

Table 1 Relative precipitation totals measured by- totalizers in percentage with regard to precipi- tation totals measured at the compared stations for period 1971-1985

No. Totalizer

Warm period

Cold period

of year

of year


Zelené pleso




Javorovâ dolina




Stary salas








Popradské pleso




pod Svistovym stxtom




Zbojnxcka chata




pod Streleckou vezou




pod Sedielkom




Tichâ dolina




pod Chabencom




pod Chocom




Biela skala




pod Kubinskou holou




pod Ostredkom




Velkâ lûka








nad Handlovou




Suchâ hora




Fabbvâ". ho la



















more than on the

unambiguously prove that effectiveness of the Nipher wind shield is relatively good. But it is mainly thanks to the fact, that practically all totalizers were transported from windy ridge localities on the less windy ones of the mountain valleys.Till at precipitation, measured in cold half-year, were often lower than in case of precipitation station (Fasko and Lapin, 1988).

Skalnaté Pleso (1778 m) . Mentioned facts


Precipitation totals measured in the network over the ter- ritory of Slovakia have a very long tradition. In central archive there are carefully filed documents from hundreds of stations for future generations. It is evident, that any influence in methodics of precipitation measurements or in the system of precipitation filing might cause an interruption of homogenity of time series of precipita- tion measurements. That is, why in the Slovak Hydromete- orological Institute, there were accepted principles of

M. Lapin


handling precipitation data in agreement with the inter- national recommendations:

- Precipitation totals in monthly reports, routine re- ports and information, in files and database have to be without exception original ones, it means, in form as they were measured, without any corrections of sys- tematic errors

- In justified cases, it is possible to make reliable corrections of systematic errors of measured precipi- tation totals for one month and longer period according to the methodics of SHMÛ for heights above sea level up to 500 m with the exception of ridge and strong windy locations

- For higher heights above sea level, it is possible to make approximate corrections of precipitation totals from mean monthly values of air temperature and wind velocities, from number of precipitation days and from share of solid precipitation on the all-round precipi- tation total. For the height of 400 m above sea level, the yearly approximate correction on precipitation to-

tals is by

by 19%, in 1600 m a.s.l. by 22% and in 20 00 m a.s.l. by 25% (Lapin et al., 1985).

15%, in 800 m a.s.l. by 17%, in 1200 m a.s.l.

- With regard to the fact, that corrections of wind ef- fect are not fully reliable,it is necessary, at selec- ted stations, to make paralel measurements of daily precipitation totals by the METRA 886 rain gauge equip- ped by adjusted Tretyak wind shield. This ought to be a case of all professional stations and of some sui- tably selected mountain stations (approximately 3 0 sta- tions) .

- Corrections of systematic errors of precipitation will be possible to make reliably for the whole territory of Slovakia taking in account already planned parallel measurements.

- In case of distribution of corrected precipitation to- tals or of their another publication, there must be unambiguously mentioned, that these data were correc- ted according to some defined methodics.


Corrections of systematic errors of the measured precipi- tation, the use of parallel precipitation measurements by means of shielded rain gauges and totalizers allow to narrow the gap between the measured and really fallen precipitation on the Earth's surface. On the other hand, it means that there can be expected a general increase of yearly corrected precipitation in comparison with measured ones by 10 to 15% in lowlands, by 15-20% in mid- dle localities, and 20-50% and more in mountainous areas. These values are in agreement with the precipitation mea- surements made by totalizers situated in suitable locali-


Measurement andprocessing of atmospheric precipitation

ties. It is evident, that above mentioned increasing of precipitation will demand corrections of the water balan- ce relations mainly in mountainous catchment with a gre- ater share of solid precipitation.


Faëko, P., Lapin, M. Meranie atmosferickych zrâzok pomo- cou totalizâtorov na ûzemi Slovenska za obdobie 1951- 1985. (Maesurements of atmospheric precipitation by totalizers on the territory of Slovakia for period 1951-1985). Meteorologické zrâvy. Vol.41, No.5, pp.


Gajar, B. , Lapin, M. Optimisation of the meteorological station networks on the territory of Slovakia. Idoja- râs, Vol.91, No.5, pp.265-276 Golubev, V.S. (1970) 0 korrektnom izmereniji atmosfernych osadkov osadkomerom Tretjakova. (To correct atmosphe- ric precipitation measurement by precipitation gauge Tretyakov). Trudy GGI, vypusk 181, Leningrad, pp.87-97 Lapin, M., Lednicky, V., Priadka, 0. (1985) Upresnenie systematickych chyb ceskoslovenskych âtandardnych zrâz- komerov METRA 886. (Accurating of systematic errors of the Czechoslovak standard gauges METRA 886). Zâverecnâ sprâva vyskumnej ûlohy II-5-1/01. SHMÛ, Bratislava Lapin, M., Samaj, F. (1986) Results from the study of methodics for measuring precipitation and systematic errors of rain gauges in Czechoslovakia. In ; Corrections of Precipitation Measurements. Zurich, ETH, pp.176-185 Sevruk, L.R., Hamon, W.R. (1984) International Comparison of National Precipitation Gauges with a Reference Pit Gauge. Instrument and Observing Methods. Report No.17, WMO, Geneva Struzer, L.R., Golubev, V.G. (1976) Methods for the Cor- rection of the Measured Sums of Precipitation for Water Balance Computations. Report for the UNESCO/WMO Internatinal Workshop on Water Balance of Europa. Leningrad, p.23

Hydrology of MountainousAreasCProceedines of the Strbské Pleso Workshop, Czechoslovakia, June IAHS Publ. no. 190, 1990.

Influence of topography on spatial distribution of rain


Météorologie nationale, Aérodrome de Bron, 69500 Bron, France


CEMAGREF, Div. Hydrologie-Hydraulique, 693 36 Lyon Cedex, France

In 1986 and beginning of 1987, the first 14 of


30 self registering rain gauges were set up on the north-

ern slopes of the French

ledge of the spatial variability of statistical parame-

ters of rainfall in mountainous areas

tervals. In order to obtain a high density network wit-

Alps, in order to improve our know-

for short

time in-

hout loosing economic feasibility, this network was desig-


the main mountainous ranges oriented NE/SW. A review of the studies shows that it is better to classify the rainfall events according to their meteorolo- gical features before studying the influence of the topo- graphy on it. We selected the following parameters to classify the rainfall events: heights of isobaric levels, air temperatures, water content and wind speed from which we calculated predictors such as changes of layer thick- ness and vertical profiles. These predictors represent the different factors which act upon the precipitations:

direction and speed of the air flow, temperature and water content of the air, unstability. For the presented study we used the radiosonde data of the meteorological station of Lyon-Satolas and the statistical analysis routines of the french meteorological service.

The ultimate goal has been to give the correct esti- mation of rainfall in the mountainous catchments using data available only in the foreland.

one-dimensioned, 5 0 km long, and perpendicular to


As rainfall is one factor of flood formation, the hydro- logy of mountainous areas is concerned with the problem of spatial variability of rainfall which is more impor- tant in those areas than in lowlands where are located most of raingauges. In contrary, since floods occurring in mountainous areas often concerning small watersheds available daily data are not fully sufficient and shorter time resolution would be required. Nevertheless, there is a strong demand for better esti- mation of rainfall parameters (intensity-duration-frequen- cy) in mountainous areas mainly for flood risk evaluation. That is the reason, why many hydrologists studied rela- tionships between the rainfall and topographical features

C. Givone&X. Meignien


of area (elevation, slope, distance from crestlines, etc.) in order to face the lack of appropriate data. Such rela- tions could permit the estimation of rainfall parameters from data available in the surrounding lowlands, taking into account the topography induced effects.

A review of literature shows that the way topography

modifies the spatial pattern of rainfall depends on meteorological characteristics of incident airflow, such as the air moisture content, temperature, wind speed and direction of movement. For instance, if the incident airflow is unsaturated and rather stable, there may be rainfall occurrence only after a sufficiently flow is saturated, a small barrier may cause the rainfall. In the case of strong instability, the bigger rainfall inten- sities occur over the more upwind obstacles, even if these are small. That is the reason, why one may find heavier hourly rainfalls at the foothills and daily rainfalls at the top of a range. Wind drift effects must be also considered. Therefore, the rainfall-topography relationships require to pay attention to the kind of meteorological situation and to classify the rainy events.

The Grande-Chartreuse and Belledonne ranges and their surroundings are an interesting site for studying rain- fall-topography relationships (Figs. 1,2) because of:

- possibility to use radiosonde data from Lyon-Satolas

airport (temperature, moisture content, and wind profiles,

twice a day), in order to identify the kind of weather (cold or warm front, warm sector, etc.),

- availability of daily precipitation data from about

5 0 gages of the National Meteorological

- fairly simple topography (the main crest-lines are

all parallel, N.N.E/S.S.W oriented, while most of rainy events occur under S.W to N.W wind conditions).

That was the reason why the set up of self-recording

raingages along 50 km long, and W.N.W/E.S.E oriented


lines was

chosen (Figs. 1 and 2 and Table

1) . Their num-

ber (17 at the end of 1987) could rise up to 30 according

to further program of the study. The subject network allows several kinds of improvements:

- the very short time step (1 minute) of data gives

the possibility to know the temporal structure of rain- fall (duration of events, fluctuation of intensity, importance of convective cells, etc.),

- using only daily data, one could not know whether

the amount of rainfall for a given day was due to one

or more rainy events; the network allows a better under- standing of daily data from the pre-existing network,

- using short time step data, one can understand

whether différencies between the rainfall amounts recor-

ded at two points are due to increase of intensity or duration (or both).


Influence of topography on spatial distribution ofrain

•••- 9


.•••• ••-.£










C. Givone &X. Meignien


Table 1

Elevation ( m a.s.l.) of the gauges set up in


No.of gauge

















500 1000 1370

No.of gauge










1700 1300



780 1330 1820 1670





imos l









100 (km)

Fig.2 Elevation profile from Satolas Airport to Belle- donne along the axis on which the network is set


In order to classify rainfall events according to their meteorological features, we have selected the following parameters: wind speed and direction, air temperature and moisture content, height of isobaric surfaces up to the 50 0 mb level; from which we calculated more predic- tors characterizing changes of layer thickness and vertical profiles of pseudo-adiabatic wet-bulb tempera- ture. These predictors represent the different factors which act upon the precipitations and according to the theoretical knowledge and weather forecasts experience could be listed as follows:

- direction and speed of the air flow

- moisture content and temperature of the air

- synoptic scale vertical motions

- convection

As input for the subject selection of predictors, we used radiosonde data from Lyon-Satolas airport meteorolo- gical station which belongs to the national meteorologi- cal service. A hundred strong rainfall events were chosen


Influence of topography on spatial distribution of rain

to make this classification using daily data from the 50 gauges mentioned above over the period 1976-1984. As a limit we have selected only events when the rainfall amount exceeded 40 mm at one site.

A statistical routine allows us to select the best

predictors among those yet mentioned. They are the direc-

tion and speed of wind

at the 850, 700, and 500 mb


pseudo-adiabatic lapse rates on the 850/700, 700/500 mb and 850/700 mb layers. The wind direction at the 850, 700 and 500 mb levels appear as very important. The predictors which represent instability also seem to be very efficient characteri- zing the synoptic scale vertical motions.

Another statistical routine allows automatic classifi- cation of a given day according to the weather type. Three selected classes of situations contain most of strong rainfall events:

- the first class contains 20% of days, characterized

by a warm sector (with or without a warm front passing

through during

and occurrence during the cold season (November to May).

The 850/500 mb layer is stable;

- the second class contains 45% of the situations

encountered. These days are characterized by SW wind, with a warm sector (with or without a warm front). There is a light to moderate instability between the ground and the 700 mb level;

the day) , WNW to NW winds

at all levels,

- the third class contains 20% of the days. These

days are distributed all along the year, and characteri- zed by NW wind and a cold front followed by a cold sector. There is a light convection between ground and 700 mb level, the 700/500 mb layer is stable.

For each class described above, we have studied the difference between rainfall recorded in the Grande-Chart- reuse range and in the western lowlands, and we searched statistical relationships between this difference and some of the predictors described above.In the first and third classes, where the wind direction is perpendicular to the crest lines, the difference is important, with stronger orographic component of rainfall when the middle layers are markedly stable. If a considerable instability decreases this difference then a little forced uplift may release potential instability. Another point is rather good correlation between wind speed and rainfall amounts recorded at the middle of the downwind slope of the Grande-Chartreuse range (wind drift effect). In the second class (SW wind) , the subject difference is less important than in the first and third classes, and sometimes even negative. For this class, the component of wind speed perpendicular to the crest lines at the 850 mb level appears as a good predictor of orographic increase (this level is directly influenced by the orography).

C. Givone & X. Meignien



Since the purpose of this study is flood risk estimation, the self recording raingauges are not heated. So the data sets from the new network are not available for the cold season. It means, that we could analyse only rainfall events included in the second or third class situations. From the available data (25 events from June to October, 1987), we have obtained results which would need confir- mation after more studies based upon much larger data sets (five years at least are required.

Duration and intensity of rainfall

In most cases, except during markedly stormy events, the difference of total amount of rainfall between gauges in a given mountain range is due to increase of the mean intensity, and less to the duration variability. The duration of rainfall observed in the Grande-Chartreuse and the Belledonne may be somewhat different in some case.

Importance of relative air moisture

Moisture content of the air may be rather far from its saturation even in the lower layers (the moisture con- tent may be 65-75% only from the ground up to the 700 mb level). When it occurres, the heaviest rainfall is not observed at the foothills, even with general expected instability, but at higher elevations further downwind


Maximum rainfall in the Alps (in 10's of mm)

- Relative moisture

content : 65/85% up to 700 mb

level; - Instability up to 600 mb level;

- Maximum rainfall in the Alps


Influence of topography on spatial distribution ofrain

Effects of middle layers stability

Each time the 850-700 mb layer is stable or neutral, the maximum rainfall amount is observed at the gauges located in the mountain ranges. This often occurres during events belonging to the third class situation and during fewer events of the second one. This is consistent with the results of the previous study, since for the "typical" (or most representative) day of the third class situation, the difference of the potential wet-bulb temperature bet- ween 850 and 700 mb levels is close to zero. For the "typical" day of the second class, the air is unstable up to the 700 mb level, and statistical analysis shows that the more stable the 850-700 mb layer, the larger is the difference of rainfall amount between Grande-Chartreuse and upwind lowlands (Fig.4).

Fig.4 Maximum rainfall in the Prealps (in 10's of mm)

- High or fairly high relative moisture content

- Ground to 850 mb and 700--600 mb layers unstable, 850-700 mb layer stable

- W.N.W. wind

- Maximum rainfall in the Prealps

Blockage of stable air mass

It is well known that stable air masses may be blocked by a barrier, and then occlusion may occur. That was also

C. Givone & X. Meignien


observed in the scope of this study, during the fall, when the lower layers are stable, the rainfall amount is maximal at the upwind lowlands and foothills (Fig.5).

Fig.5 Maximum rainfall upwind the Prealps (in 10's of


- Fairly high to high relative moisture content

- Occlusion of front

- SSW/WSW wind

Experimental problems

The rainfall amount measured at gauge No.9 (1700 m a.s.l.)


most of times smaller than thatat'the nearest daily rain gauge

of the national meteorological service (900 m a.s.l.), and even than at gauge No.8 (1370 m a.s.l.). This may be partly due to a general decrease of rainfall from west to east, but since the gradient would be too high, one might also think of a bad catchment siting (gauge No.9 is set on an isolated windy summit) or due to the shorter tra- jectory of droplets which would then be smaller. In order to complete our information, we set the gauge No.7 at the foot of the mountain at the altitude 1000 m a.s.l.


The study confirms that the way topography influences the. spatial pattern of the rainfall strongly depends on the meteorological conditions, and not only on synoptic scale


Influence of topography on spatial distribution ofrain

Fig.6 Maximum rainfall upwind the Prealps (in 10's of mm)

- High relative moisture content (87-98% up to the 600 mb level)

- Instability up to 600 mb level

features (such as presence of a cold front, or warm sec- tor conditions etc.), but also on more "basic" airflow characteristics, since these characteristics may vary quite significantly from, for example, one warm front to another warm front. This should be taken into account if somebody wants to develop statistically and meteorologi- cally based early warning systems, or relationships between topography and intensity-duration curves for low exceedance occurrences used for flood risk evaluation.


Bader, M.J. and Roach, W.T. (1977) Orographic rainfall in warm sectors of depressions. Quaterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society. No.103, pp.269-280 Barry, G. (1981) Mountain weather and climate Methuen ed. Elliot, R. and Shaffer, R. (1962) The development of quantitative relationships between orographic precipi- tation and air-mass parameters for use in forecasting and cloud-seeding evaluation. Journal of applied mete- orology. Vol.1, pp. 218-228 Miller, J.F. (1972) Physiographically adjusted precipita- tion-frequency maps, in Distribution of precipitation

in mountainous

areas, WMO, No.32 6

Peck, E.L. (1972) Relation of orographic winter precipi- tations patterns to meterol.parameters.WMO, No.326

Hydrology of MountainousAreas (Proceedings of the Strbské Pleso Workshop, Czechoslovakia, June 1988). IAHS Publ. no. 190, 1990.

A French hydrometeorological experiment to evaluate weather radar capabilities for medium elevation mountain hydrology


LCPC Nantes, BP 19, F 44340 Bouguenais, France


IM Grenoble, BP 53X, F 38041 Grenoble, France


DDE du Gard, 98, rue Weber, F 30032 Nimes, France


LAMP Clermont Ferrand, BP 45, F 63170 Aubiere, France ABSTRACT This paper describes a specific experiment called Cevennes 86-88, designed to evaluate weather radar capabilities for a flash flood early warning system in a mountainous area. A general description of the experiment is provided, with an overview of the hydrological context and details concerning the radar characteristics and the collected data set. The different methods used to process the radar data on an hourly time step presented together with results illustrating the improvements obtained.


Weather radar networks are being developed in several countries, providing a continuous survey of rainfall fields. Attractive possibilities are thus offered to hydrologists in charge of flood forecasting and reservoir regulation. The principle of rainfall intensity measure-

ment using radar has been the subject of extensive re- search over the last twenty years (see a summary in Wilson and Brandes, 1979 or Doviak, 1983). The qualitative inte- rest of the data acquisition is certain. Many successfull

are. described

applications in storm detection

in the literature. The quantitative interest of this data is, however, still an open question. Various attempts have been made to validate radar rainfall assessments using raingauge networks. Most of these deal with daily time steps (Woodley, 1975, Hildebrand et al.,1979,

Barnson and Thomas, 19 83 or Delrieu et al.m 1988) and show fair agreement between the two kinds of measurements. Attempts to deal with time steps more relevant to hydrolo- gical applications are more rare (Harrold et al. , 1974,

Collier, 1985

and tracking

or Andrieu, 1987) . The results


indicate that the many sources of error in radar measu-

rement (see Zawadski, 1984 for a comparative study of these errors) must be reduced by a judicious choice of operational conditions. In hilly terrain, the effect of relief and elevation increase some sources of these errors and the above

H. Andrieu et al.


choice is always difficult (Joss and Waldvogel, 1987). This paper deals with a specific experiment, called Cevennes 86-88, designed to assess the weather radar capabilities for flash flood prediction in mountainous areas. After a description of the experiment and the data collected, the different methods used to process the ra- dar data on an hourly time step are detailed. The results obtained in 1986 are illustrated.


Hydrological context

The Cevennes region is located at the south-eastern end of the Central Mountains (Massif-Central) in the south of France. This region is a transition area between medium elevation mountains (less than 2000 m a.s.l.) and the Rhône River valley, and has a fairly high topographic gradient (almost 5 to 10%). The hydrographie drainage depends on a dozen small watersheds (between 200 and 800 with steep upper catchments and flat lowlands.

The climate is typically Mediterranean, with heavy rainfall events of short duration (less than 2-3 days) occurring mostly in autumn and sometimes in spring (a des- cription of the concerned meteorological situations is given by Tourasse, 1980). Precipitations of 400 mm in 2 or 3 days are not an exception and the rainfall of 800 mm in one day has been observed. An average rainfall of 32mm in .one hour has been estimated for one event on a 545 km 2 watershed (Le Gardon d'Anduze in autumn 1976) . The steep relief in this region produces a rapid concentration of the flows leading to flash flooding. For



example , the flow of

Sabatier, including 45 km 2 controlled by a retarding

the Vidourl e River (20 0 km




reservoir at Ceyrac)

hours. Following a flood disaster in 1958, the decision was made to build flood control dams and a flood warning and forecasting system was set up in the early 1970's. The system (see Billuart and Tourasse, 1980 for a complete description) includes a)data acquisition and retrieval system and b) modelling and forecasting system.

once rose from 30 to 500 m / s in 1.5

Cevennes 86-88 experiment

Within the framework of the development of the national weather radar network in the early 1980's, the question arose of the usefulness of such a system in the Cevennes region and in other areas exposed to the same kind of hazard (Alps and Pyrenees foot hills facing the Mediter- ranean sea) . The Environment Authorities decided to fund a research experiment in order to answer that question. Three French


A French hydrometeowlogical evaluation of weather radar

laboratories designed this experiment, called Cevennes


A dual polarization radar (belonging to the Labora- toire de Météorologie Physique in Clermont-Ferrand and described below) was set up, during autumn seasons from 1986 to 1988, in the heart of the mountain ridge in Barre des Cévennes at the elevation of 1030 m a.s.l. At the same time, hydrological and meteorological data from ground networks were critically analysed and archived (the Insti- tut de Mécanique in Grenoble, the Laboratoire Central des Ponts in Nantes and the Direction de 1'Equipment du Gard were in charge of this task).








Fig.l Presentation of the study area

H. Andrieu et al.


Weather radar device

The weather radar employed for the experiment (Pointin et al., 1987) is a pilot system (called Anatol) with the following features: 10 cm wavelength, 250 kW peak power, 4 m antenna and 1.8°beam width. The data digitized in 256 levels of reflectivity (dBZ) and recorded in polar coor- dinates with a spatial resolution of l°in azimuth and 240 m in range. Anatol has dual polarization capability. Alternate pulses are transmitted and received in horizontal and vertical polarization. Thus, a new parameter, called differential reflectivity and noted ZDR, is available. When ZH and ZV are the reflectivities related to horizon- tal and vertical polarization, the differential reflecti- vity is defined by:



This parameter provides a better description of the drop size distribution since the shape of falling rain- drops (i.e. horizontal versus vertical size of the drops) is related to their size. The improvement obtained in terms of rainfall rate assessment with the aid of this new measurement is still under test and outside the scope of this preliminary paper.

Ground networks

The rainfall rates are measured at ground level by 45

recording rain gauges covering 6000 km


(i.e. a density

of one gauge per 130 km ; see Figure 1) .Only 19 telemetric

gauges transmit their data to

For the experiment, two disdrometers have been set up within 20 km of the radar. These devices are designed to measure and transmit the distribution of the rainfall drop size in 5 minute time steps. The runoff of the main watersheds concerned are measu- red and telemetered by the gauging stations of the flood warning system.

Data set obtained

Since September 1986 five significant rainfall events have occur in the Ceveness region. Only three have been observed and recorded by the radar. Among the two missed events, one (October 15, 1987) was associated with very strong winds (up to 150 km/h) and damages the radar dish in the first hours of observation, and the other occurred under very unusual meteorological conditions which caused an incorrect rainfall forecast and misled the observation team. The observed events (see their main characteristics


the Nimes forecasting center.


A French hydrometeorological evaluation of weather radar

in Table 1) have slightly different characteristics. The first two (in 1986) show moderate hourly peak intensities in spite of high rainfall totals. Higher intensities were observed in 1987. The results discussed below only deal with the November 19 86 event.

Table 1 Basic characteristics of the rainfall events observed during autumn 198 6 and 1987



Maximum 1-hour

Duration of


rain gauge

rain gauge

radar record



Oct. 1986

240 mm

26 mm

18 hrs

Nov. 1986

480 mm

33 mm

48 hrs

Oct. 1987

(in 5 days) 360 mm

60 mm

40 hrs


The mountainous context of the experiment prevents the direct use of the raw radar data for hydrological purposes. The relief introduces two major sorts of anomalies. The detection of the relief itself by the radar beam leads to strong permanent echos, unrelated to rainfall. The par- tial (or total) beam blockage resulting from this ground detection, leads to underdetection of the rainfall inten- sities beyond the obstacles. Secondly, in many meteorolo- gical situations, the elevation of the radar site ampli- fies the problem of underdetection related to partial beam filling as well as the bright band problem. The goal of radar data processing is to detect and correct these anomalies in order to provide suitable rainfall estimates for hydrologie applications. The pro- cedures developed and implemented in the Cevennes expe- riment will now be presented.

Ground clutters

In the absence of anomalous propagation of the radar beam (i.e. beam refraction due to particular vertical air temperature distributions) the identification of ground echoes is basically a simple task. Clear air pictures (i.e. without rain) are recorded for different elevation angles as shownin Fig.2 . One can distinguish strong echoes (high isoline gradients) due to the detection of identifiable hills (5 km north-east or south) or moun- tains (10 km northward - Mont Lozère (1800 m) by the main lobe of the radar beam. Those echoes are signifi- cantly reduced by increasing the elevation angle. Other weaker and permanent echoes can be seen on these pictures

H. Andrieu et al.








Fig.2 Clear air pictures from Anatol radar in Barre des

Cévennes for

b - a higher elevation angle (3°)

a- a low elevation angle (1°) and


A French hydrometeorological evaluation of weather radar

(south-east line along the valley of Le Gardon de Mialet). They are due to the reflexion of the side lobes of the radar beam (very common defect of the radar antennas). They are less sensitive to the elevation angle, making total suppression of ground clutters at higher angles unlikely. Dual polarization offers another way of detecting ground echoes. Differential reflectivity exhibits stron- ger spatial variations for ground echoes than for rain- fall echoes. It is thus possible to identify ground clutters by selecting the appropriate threshold for the differential reflectivity. The Fig.3 shows the ground clutters identified with this method for two very close elevation angles. This result is in good agreement with the clear air picture result, recalling the latter is obtained on a rectangular grid and that the ZDR filter is directly applied to polar pictures. For practical reasons, only the clear air identification method has been used in this preliminary work. As the picture elements polluted by ground detection are unusable, the following procedure was chosen to make use of the two available elevation angles. For each pixel, the lower elevation measurement is priorily retained. In case of ground detection, the upper elevation measurement is selected. If this measurement is also unusable, an interpolation of the surrounding correct pixels is reali- zed using a very crude moving average scheme. The inter- polation is fully justified on the upper elevation pictu- res since the area of the permenent echoes is very limi- ted. The efficiency of this procedure has been tested by comparing radar versus rain gauge measurement for several points corrupted by ground detection. The scattergram obtained for 4 8 hours in November 198 6 at Mont Aigoual and la Rouverette is shown in Fig.4-a. It is not signi- ficantly different from the other scattergram (Fig.4-b) based on four other sites, in the same range, that are free of ground clutter. The ground echoes due to anomalous propagation are much more difficult to identify. They result from very specific meteorological conditions, and therefore, are sporadic and unstable. Different methods have been pro- posed to tackle this problem (statistical identification of anomalous gradient by Fortin et al., 1986 or Krajewski, 1987; comparison with satellite information by Fiore et

al. , 1986) . In this study anaprops

by visual examination of the basic pictures, but dual

polarization offers promising possibilities.

were detected simply

Pcirtial beam filling

The radar equation assumes that the radar beam is totally filled by hydrometeors. In other words, if a correct

H. Andrieu et al.



































11/13/8 6





2î H




S GROUNO ECHOS ON 11/13/86 RT 2iH 19MN





° o













<n <







o m






T "




" T


Fig.3 Ground clutters identified ba analysing the dif- ferential reflectivity gradients for two rainfall pictures (11/13/86 at 21:03 and 21:19 for 1.6° and 1.7"elevation angles)


A French hydrometeorological evaluation of weather radar

























Fig.4 Radar versus rain gauge hourly measurements:

a) for two sites with ground echoes

b) for four other free of ground clutters and in the same range

H. Andrieu et al.


measurement of the reflectivity factor is needed, the radar beam must be entirely situated below the maximum altitude of rain. When a part of the beam exceeds this

altitude, an equivalent part of emitted power is unused,

and underdetection is to be expected.

Different methods have been proposed to compensate for this underdetection (e.g. mean correction with range -

Koistinen,1986; Joss and Walwogel, 1987). Another approach

is adopted in this study. Assuming that the rainfall is

confined under a constant maximum altitude and knowing

the beam features (elevation angle, radar elevation, beam

width), a very simple geometric calculation gives the proportion P of each radar bin filled with rain. The the-

oretical radar reflectivity Z is given by equation

Z = 1/V / v Z i D G ±





When the useful part of the volume V is reduced to P.V,

- volume of the bin

. - raindrop distribution, i=l,n (Doviak, 1983)


the reflectivity becomes equal

Z p - 1/p.V / p>v l ±

D G ± = 1/P Z


assuming a constant distribution of the power in the beam.


terms of rainfall rate R, the above correction is



= (l/P) 1/b R = k R





Z =

a R

relation is used.


For illustration, the correction factor k has been computed as a function of the range for two elevation angles and different maximum altitudes of rain above the radar (Fig.5). The assumption concerning the constant power distribution in the beam introduces only a minor error in that correction. To show this, the factor k was computed as a function of P assuming a gaussian distri- bution of the power. The difference is hardly noticeable when the unfilled thickness of the bin is less then 0.8%


The major difficulties encountered in applying such a correction scheme are the identification of the maximum altitude of rain, if it exists, and the selection of a

time step for this identification (i.e. the duration over which the maximum altitude is assumed to be constant).

A comparison of the pictures at different elevation ang-

les is a good experimental mean of identification. Along

chosen directions, the computation of the ratio (measure- ment at low elevation/measurement at high elevation) as

a function of range gives estimates of the correction



A French hydrometeorological evaluation of weather radar

4 _





















Fig.5 Correction factors for partial beam filling as

a function of range for an elevation angle of

a - l°and

b - 3° and different values of the

maximu m altitude of rain (• 1.4 km, o 1,5 km ,

A 1.6 km and


D 1.7 km above the radar site eleva-

H. Andrieu et al.



O / / 8_ 3. // /ri 2 _ -i—- P 0 2 0-4 0
2 _
-i—- P
0 2
0 6
0 8

Fig.6 Correction factors for partial beam filling as a function of the unified percentage of the bin thickness assuming a constant (Q ) and a gaussian (o ) distribution of the power in the beam

factors k. The shape of the obtained correction curve is easy to relate to a maximum altitude of rain. The above procedure has been applied to the November 1986 data set.


are correctly fitted if a maximum altitude of 1.5 km is assumed for rain (Fig.7). A good fit is only required for factors less than 2.5 (i.e. 80% of unfilled volume). For higher values the correction becomes spurious and is abandoned. Finally, note that the validity of this cor- rection, is somewhat questionable for long durations.

A constant maximum altitude for 4 8 hours is meteorologi- cally a very courageous assumption.

- The same procedure can be applied separately for

- For the 4 8 hour totals and two directions (N-60 E N-12 0 E) , the experimental correction curves obtained

each hour. As

long as some rain has fallen in all the

considered directions, the obtained experimental correc- tion curves give a more instantaneous estimate of the maximum altitude of rain. For the data set considered in our study, this altitude does not seem to fluctuate to any considerable extent (see one example in Fig.8). This tends to support the validity of the constant correc- tion curve adopted in this example. In more variable meteorological situations a moderate evolution of the

curve with time should be considered, based on hourly analysis of the experimental curves.

Partial screening

A consequence of partial beam blockage by the relief,

partial screening results in underdetection by the same



A French hydwmeteorological evaluation of weather radar
















Experimental correction curves (ratio of low evaluation value/high elevation value versus range) computed for 48-hour totals and for N-60 E (•) and N-120 E (•) directions. Theoretical correction curve for partial beam filling (•) for a maximum altitude of rain of 1.5 km



Experimental correction curves computed for one hour (13/11/86, 22:00-23.00) for N60E (o) and N 120 E (f) directions

H. Andrieu et al.


mm r = 0.66


r = 0.78



0.0 100.













Fig. 9


a t


versu s


selecte d

site s

estimate s



total s





r = 0.65


111 3












I 3


3*31 1




























• 0.70


Fig.10 Radar versus raingauge estinates of hourly rainfall rate at 15 selected sites


A French hydrometeorological evaluation of weather radar

U jasw.s£-euuE_MDAa TQT4«_-.SIIE UAUJ















Fig.11 a,b Mapping of November 1986 event totals. Raw radar recording for a) low and b) high elevation angles

H. Andrieu et al.


UOï.S£-aiUEjtoDAa lDTAI-e.-iM45E









Fig.11 c,d Mapping of November 1986 event totals. Raw radar recording for c) interpolation of ground measurements, d) processed radar picture


A French hydrometeorological evaluation of weather radar

mechanism as partial filling. Beyond an obstacle, part of the emitted power is not available and formula (4) must be applied with correction factor k depending on the beam features and the horizon line of the radar site. In hilly terrain the choice of elevation angles must be a compromise between the risks of partial screening (lower limit) and partial filling (upper limit). The above procedures have been packaged in a mini- computer program called HYDROSURF-RADAR. This software processes the raw reflectivity data corresponding to PPI pictures in polar coordinates and provides improved rectangular pictures of the rainfall rate.



An initial illustration of the quality of results can be obtained from a comparison with raingauge measurements. To specifically test the improvements offered by the data processing software, 15 gauges were selected within an effectively corrected radar bin. The comparison is made before and after correction. Corrections of ground clut- ters are not considered. For the 48-hour totals, Table 2 shows a significant improvement for all the criteria and the scattergrams presented in Fig.9 provide a visual confirmation of this result.

Table 2 Effectiveness of the correction of radar data by comparison with raingauges measurements

Rainfall amount

Hourly time step
























Absolute error divided by the mean value (%)





Mean square error divided by the mean value (%)





For the hourly time step, only the mean error is significantly improved (see Table 2 and Fig.10). Two explanations may be suggested.

H. Andrieu et al.


- The criteria used are not able to deal with a strong proportion of null values.

- The raingauge measurements are too uncertain to pro-

vide a reference at this time step. Another illustration is provided by the map of the 48 hour totals before and after correction. The low and high elevation pictures shown in Fig.11, clearly illustra- te the major anomalies of raw pictures: ground clutters and underdetection. The processed radar picture is ob- viously of better quality and very consistent with the raingauge interpolation results.


Is weather radar a useful tool for rainfall monitoring in a mountainous area? The Cevennes 86-88 experiment has been designed to provide a suitable data set to explore this question in its many different aspects, The good quality of the rain- gauge network allows direct comparisons provided that appropriate criteria are defined. The discharge record offers the possibility of a complete hydrologie valida- tion. The dual polarisation capability of the radar ex- tend the range of possible investigations concerning radar data processing. The preliminary results presented here stress the important role of radar processing in a mountainous context.


The Cevennes 86-88 experiment is jointly funded by the French Ministry of Environment, EDF (the French Elec- trical Utility) and the European Research Program in Climatology. The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support of these organizations.


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A French hydrometeorological evaluation of weather radar

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