EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

A comparative study of snowmelt runoff modelling at Rheraya watershed in the Moroccan High Atlas Mountains 

Hafsa Bouamri1,2, Abdelghani Boudhar1,3, and Christophe Kinnard4
Hafsa Bouamri et al.
  • 1Water Resources Management, Valorisation and Remote Sensing Team, Faculty of Sciences and Technology, Sultan Moulay Slimane University, Beni Mellal, Morocco (
  • 2LMI TREMA Faculty of Science Semlalia , University Caddi Ayad, Morocco (
  • 3Center for Remote Sensing Applications, Mohammed VI Polytechnic University, Ben Guerir, Morocco (
  • 4Département des sciences de l’environnement, Université de Québec à Trois-Rivières, Trois-Rivières, Canada (

In the Atlas Mountains range, streamflow is largely generated from meltwater supplied by the snowpack during spring and early summer. In this manner, snow is considered an important factor which determining water availability in semi-arid and arid mountains. This substantial part of freshwater stored in the form of snow contributes significantly to mountainous runoff. However, the contribution of snow and rain to the annual and multi-annual water balance remain largely unknown. Hydrological modeling is needed to support water resource assessment and management in the Atlas range. As meteorological data is often scarce, the models must be able to simulate the spatiotemporal heterogeneity of forcing variables while maintaining a low data input requirement.

In this study, the performance of the snowmelt runoff model (SRM) is assessed to simulate and forecast daily runoff essentially from snowmelt and rainfall at the Rheraya watershed in the Moroccan High Atlas range over the 2010 - 2016 period. The SRM runoff simulation is tested under two forcing inputs: (i) four snowmelt rates previously estimated by a classical temperature-index model (TI) and three enhanced temperature index models that respectively include the potential clear-sky direct radiation (HTI), the incoming solar radiation (ETI-A), and net solar radiation (ETI-B); (ii) calculated snowmelt from the snow cover area (SCA) products of Moderate-Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS).

All SRM simulated runoff were subjected to calibration and validation through the measured runoff in the Tahanaout weather station. The sensibility of recession coefficients was also evaluated. The SRM simulations results over the validation period show an acceptable performance.

Keywords: Runoff, SRM, snowmelt, SCA, temperature index model; enhanced degree-day models, MODIS, semi-arid climate, Rheraya, High Atlas, Morocco.


How to cite: Bouamri, H., Boudhar, A., and Kinnard, C.: A comparative study of snowmelt runoff modelling at Rheraya watershed in the Moroccan High Atlas Mountains , EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-3894,, 2022.