Snowmelt and Runoff Modeling for a Test Basin
in West Greenland
C.E. Bggild1, C.J. Knudby1, M.B. Knudsen2,
M.H. Pedersen2, W. Starzer1, and H.H. Thomsen1
Simulations using different types of hydrological models have been carried out for a test basin in
West Greenland. The results show that presently the conceptual modeling system named HBV per-
forms best. This model is widely applied in both Greenland and most of the arctic regions of Scan-
dinavia. However, a general wish to use models not only for water resource applications, but also as
a tool for improving data collection and gaining insight into the hydrological processes, has
promoted a general interest for using more physically based models. Therefore, the study also in-
cluded the Danish version of the physically based SHE hydrological modeling system (MIKE SHE).
Despite the physical basis of MIKE SHE, it treats snowmelt in a conceptual way (as in HBV). This
has motivated us to develop a horizontally distributed energy balance snowmelt model (APUT) for
this study. Parameterizations were needed in APUT, both for coupling with MIKE SHE and to over-
come the general lack of field data in Greenland. The key parameterizations in APUT constitutes
albedo parameterizations based on the age of the snow, as well as the transformation from grid into
sub-catchment distribution of meltwater runoff.
As stated, the HBV model presently performs the best simulation of discharge. However, the combi-
nation of MIKE SHE and APUT, i.e., a physically based modeling system, shows promising results
by improving the timing of the spring peak flood. The performance of the combination of MIKE
SHE and APUT is likely to reach the level of HBV if processes of water storage and flow in snow are
incorporated in this modeling system.
The Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS), Thoravej 8, DK-2400 Copenhagen NV, Den-
2 ASIAQ, Greenland Field Investigations, P.O. Box 1003, DK-3900 Nuuk, Greenland