Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Ibañez M.A., Gironás J., Oberli C., Chadwick C., Garreaud R. (2021)

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

Revista : International Journal of Climatology
Volumen : 41
Número : S1
Páginas : E980-E999
Tipo de publicación : ISI Ir a publicación


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 0C 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 intraand 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 ?5.9C/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.