loading page

Parameterizing a hydrological model using a short-term observational data set to study runoff generation processes and reproduce recent trends in streamflow at a remote mountainous permafrost basin
  • Nataliia Nesterova,
  • Olga Makarieva,
  • David Post
Nataliia Nesterova
Melnikov Permafrost Institute of the Siberian Division of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Author Profile
Olga Makarieva
Melnikov Permafrost Institute of the Siberian Division of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Author Profile
David Post
Author Profile


Recent decades have seen a change in the runoff characteristics of the Suntar River in Eastern Siberia. This study attempts to attribute these changed hydrological conditions through parameterizing a hydrological model based on historical short-term observations conducted in 1957-1959 at the Suntar-Khayata research station. The Hydrograph model is applied as it has the advantage of using observed physical properties of landscapes as its parameters. The developed parametrization of the goltsy landscape (rocky-talus) is verified by comparison of the results of simulations of variable states of snow and frozen ground with observations carried out in 1957-1959. Continuous simulations of streamflow on a daily time step are conducted for the period 1957-2012 in the Suntar River (area 7680 km2, altitude 828-2794 m) with mean and median values of Nash-Sutcliff criteria reaching 0.58 and 0.67 respectively. The results of simulations have shown that the largest component of runoff (about 70%) is produced in the high-altitude area which comprises only 44% of the Suntar River basin area. The simulated streamflow reproduces the patterns of recently observed changes, including the increase in low flows, suggesting that the increase in the proportion of liquid precipitation in autumn due to air temperature rise is an important factor in driving streamflow changes in the region. The data presented are unique for the vast mountainous parts of North-Eastern Eurasia which play an important role in global climate system. The results indicate that parameterizing a hydrological model based on observations rather than blind calibration allows the model to be used in studying the response of river basins to climate change with greater confidence.

Peer review status:IN REVISION

08 Oct 2020Submitted to Hydrological Processes
08 Oct 2020Assigned to Editor
08 Oct 2020Submission Checks Completed
08 Oct 2020Reviewer(s) Assigned
10 Nov 2020Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
10 Nov 2020Editorial Decision: Revise Major
25 Dec 20201st Revision Received