Date of Award:

2014

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Mathematics and Statistics

Advisor/Chair:

Jurgen Symanzik

Abstract

Due to a continual increase in the demand for water as well as an ongoing regional drought, there is an imminent need to monitor and forecast water resources in the Western United States. In particular, water resources in the IntermountainWest rely heavily on snow water storage. Thus, the need to improve seasonal forecasts of snowpack and considering new techniques would allow water resources to be more effectively managed throughout the entire water-year. Many available models used in forecasting snow water equivalent (SWE) measurements require delicate calibrations.

In contrast to the physical SWE models most commonly used for forecasting, we offer a statistical model. We present a data-based statistical model that characterizes seasonal snow water equivalent in terms of a nested time-series, with the large scale focusing on the inter-annual periodicity of dominant signals and the small scale accommodating seasonal noise and autocorrelation. This model provides a framework for independently estimating the temporal dynamics of SWE for the various snow telemetry (SNOTEL) sites. We use SNOTEL data from ten stations in Utah over 34 water-years to implement and validate this model.

This dissertation has three main goals: (i) developing a new statistical model to forecast SWE; (ii) bridging existing R packages into a new R package to visualize and explore spatial and spatio-temporal SWE data; and (iii) applying the newly developed R package to SWE data from Utah SNOTEL sites and the Upper Sheep Creek site in Idaho as case studies.

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