The hydrological significance of mountains: from regional to global scale

Viviroli, Daniel; Weingartner, Rolf (2004). The hydrological significance of mountains: from regional to global scale. Hydrology and earth system sciences, 8(6), pp. 1016-1029. European Geosciences Union EGU

[img]
Preview
Text
327.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution (CC-BY).

Download (2MB) | Preview

Mountain regions supply a large share of the world's population with fresh water. Quantification of the hydrological significance of mountains, however, is subject to great uncertainty. Instead of focusing on global averages in advance, the present analysis follows a catchment-based approach using discharge data provided by the Global Runoff Data Centre (GRDC). The River Rhine originating in the European Alps is chosen as a first study area, revealing the hydrological relationship between mountainous and lowland regions in a well-documented area. Following the findings from this analysis, different aspects of runoff characteristics for a total of 22 case-study river basins world-wide have been investigated and compared, for a global view. The view has been extended through aspects of climate and human use of mountain runoff. The particular hydrological characteristics of mountain areas are characterised by disproportionately large discharges. In humid areas, mountains supply up to 20-50% of total discharge while in arid areas, mountains contribute from 50-90% of total discharge, with extremes of over 95%. The overall assessment of the hydrological significance of mountain areas reveals that the world's major water towers are found in arid or semi-arid zones where they provide essential fresh water for a significant proportion of a quickly growing global population.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Physical Geography > Unit Hydrology
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Physical Geography

UniBE Contributor:

Viviroli, Daniel and Weingartner, Rolf

Subjects:

900 History > 910 Geography & travel

ISSN:

1027-5606

Publisher:

European Geosciences Union EGU

Language:

English

Submitter:

Deborah Nathalie Jutzi

Date Deposited:

21 Oct 2019 12:54

Last Modified:

22 Oct 2019 18:30

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.134006

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/134006

Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback