Advances in Earth Science ›› 2016, Vol. 31 ›› Issue (9): 937-945. doi: 10.11867/j.issn.1001-8166.2016.09.0937

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Uncertainty Analysis of the Parameters of the Temperature-index Method: A Case Study of Shiyi Glacier in Qilian Mountains

Qing Wenwu 1, 2, Liu Junfeng 2, Yang Yuquan 1, Chen Rensheng 2, Han Chuntan 2   

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Western China's Environmental Systems(Ministry of Education), College of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China;
    2.Qilian Alpine Ecology and Hydrology Research Station, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000,China
  • Received:2016-06-10 Revised:2016-08-20 Online:2016-09-20 Published:2016-09-20
  • About author:Qing Wenwu(1982-), male, Loudi City, Hu’nan Province,Lecturer. Research areas include the hydrology and water resources in cold
  • Supported by:
    Project supported by the Specialized Research Fund for the Doctoral Program of Higher Education “Glacier ablation estimation methods in the Heihe River Basin ” (No.20130211120035)the National Natural Science Foundation of China “An observational and numerical simulation of glacial runoff on Bayi Glacier in the Qilian Mountains”(No.41401073)

Qing Wenwu, Liu Junfeng, Yang Yuquan, Chen Rensheng, Han Chuntan. Uncertainty Analysis of the Parameters of the Temperature-index Method: A Case Study of Shiyi Glacier in Qilian Mountains[J]. Advances in Earth Science, 2016, 31(9): 937-945.

In order to assess the performance of the common temperature-index melt model at both spatial and temporal scale in Qilian Mountains, we performed the sensitivity and uncertainty analysis on the parameters of a common temperature-index method and evaluated the glacier mass balance on a small alpine glacier, which is separated into two relatively independent branches, with the daily mass balance and the meteorological data in the summer of 2011 and 2012. Sensitivity analysis was conducted by perturbation analysis and uncertainty analysis was carried out by Generalized Likelihood Uncertainty Estimation (GLUE) for different conditions. The results showed that the temperature-index method could properly capture the diurnal variability of the glacier mass balance. But strong equifinality of model parameter existsed in model calibration due to the uncertainty in the parameters. The model was very sensitive to changes in the value of K ice, followed by the K snow and Ts. It was also found that the GLUE approaches could estimate and derive the posterior distributions of 3 parameters properly. Moreover, there existed an acceptable range, which ensured high precision under different conditions.
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