EGU22-2805, updated on 09 Jan 2024
EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2024. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Assessment of streamflow trends in snow and glacier melt dominated catchments of SW Spitsbergen

Marzena Osuch1, Tomasz Wawrzyniak1, and Elżbieta Łepkowska2
Marzena Osuch et al.
  • 1Institute of Geophysics Polish Academy of Sciences, Hydrology and Hydrodynamics, Warsaw, Poland (
  • 2University of Silesia in Katowice, Institute of Earth Sciences, Poland

The study focuses on the changes in the regime of the four High Arctic catchments in the last 40 years taking into account different percentages of glacial coverage. The selected catchments include Breelva, Ariebekken, Bratteggbekken and Fuglebekken with glacial coverage of 61%, 11.8%, 5.9% and 0% respectively.

The flow time series in the selected catchments were simulated using a glacio-hydrological model calibrated and validated based on the available archival hydro-meteorological data.

In the second step, the reconstructed flows from the period 1979-2020 were filtered and smoothed. This allowed for delineation of the seasonal pattern by filtering out small scale variability. The changes in flow regime were assessed with trend analysis for each calendar day.

Similar trends of change were detected in all studied catchments due to similar locations in the SW Spitsbergen and climatic conditions. These changes include the earlier onset of snowmelt driven floods, large increases in autumn flows, prolongation of the hydrologically active season (starts earlier and lasts longer), decrease in flows in the latter half of June and the early part of August (except for the Breelva catchment). These changes resulted in the changes of flood regime from snowmelt-dominated to the bi-modal with peaks in both July/August and September.

A comparison of the changes between the four catchments indicated differences in the magnitude of hydrological response depending on the percentage of glacial coverage in the catchments. The larger the glacierized area is, the larger the changes in the flow regime. The estimated changes are larger than observed in lower latitudes due to larger changes in climatic conditions.

How to cite: Osuch, M., Wawrzyniak, T., and Łepkowska, E.: Assessment of streamflow trends in snow and glacier melt dominated catchments of SW Spitsbergen, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-2805,, 2022.


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