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ASG Rhine - Snow & Glacier Workshop

Runoff from snow- and glacier melt in the River Rhine and its tributaries
November 26, 2015 to November 27, 2015

The CHR hosts a  workshop on 'Runoff from snow- and glacier melt in the River Rhine and its tributaries by the background of climate change'. During the workshop the final results will be presented by the research partners and discussed. We work with invited speakers only.



The project was jointly carried out by the universities of Freiburg/Germany and Zurich/Switzerland and  the Hydron GmbH/Germany. The aim of the research project was to determine and analyze the contributions of  snow and glacier melt to the discharge in the River Rhine and its tributaries throughout the 20th century at  a high-temporal resolution. The necessary main working-steps and challenges were versatile. Discharge records from glaciated catchment areas are generally quite short and therefore empirical analyses are limited to certain time periods. Nevertheless, these allowed an insight into the sensitivity of hydrology in relation to climatic changes. In addition, glaciers and human alterations changed river flow to a large extent during the 20th century. To apply hydrological models for the quantification of the discharge components with different origin, it was important to have a consistent reconstruction of meteorology as model input. Furthermore the models must describe the glaciers’ evolution/development (and herewith the storage change in the water balance) as well as the short- and long-term variability in discharge in a correct manner. This required  further development  and changes of the models used and  a good multi-criteria calibration and model validation.

The workshop will present the project activities and the results and will integrate contributions of invited experts. The following themes are scheduled:

  • Spatial-temporal variation of  the meteorological variables, especially snow, in the Rhine catchment
  • Long-term glacier development and corresponding hydrological change
  • Model set-up and model adaptation
  • Model-based quantification of the runoff components of rain, snow and ice melt in discharge


Klosterweg 2
A-6836 Viktorsberg
Programme and Timetable

Day 1 - 26 November 2015

Moderator: Felix Naef, ETH Zurich

10:00 – 10:30 Registration (coffee & tea)
10:30 – 10:45 Welcome – Hans Moser, president of CHR
10:45 – 11:00 Introduction to the project ‚ASG-Rhein‘ – Jörg Uwe Belz, project leader / German Federal Institute of Hydrology (BfG), Koblenz
11:00 – 11:20 ASG-Rhine project: Challenges, project activities and main results  – Kerstin Stahl, project coordinator, Freiburg University
Session 1 Spatial-temporal variation of the  main meteorological parameters, especially also snow, in the Rhine catchment
11:20 – 11:45 Monitoring of snow water resources in Switzerland – Tobias Jonas, WSL-Institute of snow- and avalanche research  (SLF), Davos
11:45 – 12:10 A Glimpse on climate variability and climate change in Switzerland – Simon Scherrer, MeteoSwiss, Zurich
12:10 – 12:35 ASG-Rhine project: Reconstruction of a meteorological input dataset 1901-2006 – Markus Weiler, Freiburg University
12:35 – 13:45 Lunch / ‚buffet‘
Session 2 Long-term reaction of glaciers and hydrology
13:45 – 14:10 Long term monitoring of Austrian glaciers as key for modelling future developments – Kay Helfricht, Austrian Academy of Science, Innsbruck
14:10 – 14:35 Contribution of glacial melt to discharge on a global scale – past and future – Matthias Huss, University of Fribourg
14:35 – 15:00 ASG-Rhine project: Modelling of snow(re)distribution and glacier development in the Rhine catchment – Daphné Freudiger, Freiburg University
15:00 – 15:25 ASG-Rhine project: Climate sensitivity of the discharge in alpine head waters – Kerstin Stahl, Freiburg University
15:25 – 16:00 Coffee- / tea break
Session 3 Model set-up and model adaptation
16:00 – 16:25 Hydrological process modelling in high mountain areas. Snow and glacier discharge in the Öztaler Apls / Tyrolian Inn – Johannes Schöber, Tiroler Wasserkraft AG, Innsbruck
16:25 – 16:50 Improved simulations of climate change induced runoff regime changes using a coupled hydrological and glacier evolution model – Kristian Förster, alpS GmbH, Innsbruck
ca. 17:00 Closure of day 1

19:30 - Workshop- Dinner at Hotel Viktor


Day 2 - 27 November 2015

Moderator: Wolfgang Schöner, Graz University

Session 3 Model set-up and model adaptation
08:30 – 08:55 Impact of glacier melt on the discharge of Alpine catchments in  Austria – Hans-Peter Nachtnebel, BOKU Vienna
08:55 – 09:20 Towards monthly and seasonal forecasts of water resources in Switzerland – Massimiliano Zappa, The Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research, WSL, Birmensdorf
09:20 – 09:45 Large-area water balance modeling Germany. Example: water balance model LARSIM-ME - Peter Krahe / Enno Nilson, German Federal Institute of Hydrology (BfG), Koblenz
09:45 – 10:15 Consideration of snow melt in the operational discharge forecasts of Lake Constance, High- and Upper-Rhine – Manfred Bremicker, Federal Institute for Environment, Measurements and Nature Protection Baden-Württemberg, Karlsruhe & Karsten Jasper, Federal Office for the Environment, Bern
10:15 – 10:40 ASG-Rhine project: Adaptation of the LARSIM water balance models for the calculation of discharge components from snow- and glacier melt in the Rhine basin – Mario Böhm, HYDRON GmbH, Karlsruhe
10:40 – 11:05 Tracing flows along the Rhine – Erik Ruijgh, Deltares, Delft
11:05 – 11:30 Coffee- / tea break
Session 4 Results of modeling of discharge components of rain-, snow- and ice melt in the ASG-project
11:30 – 11:55 ASG-Rhine project: Modeling of glaciated alpine head water catchments of the Rhine basin – Irene Kohn, Freiburg University
11:55 – 12:20 ASG-Rhine project: Modeling streamflow components from snow- and glacier melt in the Rhine basin downstream of the glaciated Alpine catchments  – Kai Gerlinger - HYDRON GmbH, Karlsruhe
12:20 – 12:55 ASG-Rhine project: Assessment of uncertainties in the streamflow component modeling – Jan Seibert, Zurich University
12:55 – 13:25 Synopsis of  the workshop results – Hans Peter Nachtnebel, BOKU Vienna
13:25 – 13:30 Concluding words – Jörg Uwe Belz, German Federal Institute of Hydrology (BfG)), Koblenz

End of the workshop

Lunch ('buffet')