Daily and seasonal variation of the surface temperature lapse rate and 0°C isotherm height in the western subtropical Andes

María Ibañez, Jorge Gironás, Christian Oberli, Cristián Chadwick, René D. Garreaud

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

The spatial distribution of surface air temperatures is essential for understanding and modelling high-relief environments. Good estimations of the surface temperature lapse rate (STLR) and the 0°C isotherm height (H0) are fundamental for hydrological modelling in mountainous basins. Although STLR changes in space and time, it is typically assumed to be constant leading to errors in the estimation of direct-runoff volumes and flash-floods risk assessment. This paper characterizes daily and seasonal temporal variations of the in-situ STLR and H0 over the western slope of the subtropical Andes (central Chile). We use temperature data collected during 2 years every 10 min by a 16 sensors network in a small catchment with elevations ranging between 700 and 3,250 m. The catchment drains directly into Santiago, the Chilean capital with more than seven million inhabitants. Resulting values are compared against those obtained using off-site, operational data sets. Significant intra- and inter-day variations of the in-situ STLR were found, likely reflecting changes in the low-level temperature inversion during dry conditions. The annual average in-situ STLR is −5.9°C/km during wet-weather conditions. Furthermore, STLR and H0 estimations using off-site gauges are extremely sensitive to the existence of gauging stations at high elevations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E980-E999
JournalInternational Journal of Climatology
Volume41
Issue numberS1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Chile, 0°C isotherm
  • high density sensor network
  • mountains
  • temperature lapse rate
  • warm events

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