Event Title

An Evaluation of the Inconsistency Between Snow Water Equivalent and Accumulated Precipitation as Reported by the Snow Telemetry Network

Presenter Information

Jonathan Meyer

Location

ECC 216

Event Website

http://water.usu.edu/

Start Date

4-3-2012 11:00 AM

End Date

4-3-2012 11:20 AM

Description

This study analyzes the observed inconsistency between snow water equivalent (SWE) and accumulated precipitation made by 748 SNOw TELemetry (SNOTEL) network stations within the western U.S. The purpose of this analysis stems from the frequently occurring scenario found within numerous SNOTEL station measurements where recorded SWE accumulates faster than observed precipitation. In other words, more water is contained within the snow-column than has been observed to have fallen as precipitation. Such inconsistency in the SNOTEL network is statistically and physically explainable with two main bias scenarios identified: 1) precipitation under-catchment and 2) snow drifting. Both scenarios are highly correlated with wind speed, while snow drifting is also affected by the wetness of snowpack. Additional analysis is performed throughout the network to examine how the winds affect the SNOTEL bias. Surface winds derived from the North American Regional Reanalysis and snow property derived from COOP station reports are used for characterizing large- and small-scale conditions responsible for the SWE-precipitation inconsistency. Results of this study provide insight into the frequency and magnitude throughout the SNOTEL network for non-systematic bias, and its impacts on long-term trends.

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Apr 3rd, 11:00 AM Apr 3rd, 11:20 AM

An Evaluation of the Inconsistency Between Snow Water Equivalent and Accumulated Precipitation as Reported by the Snow Telemetry Network

ECC 216

This study analyzes the observed inconsistency between snow water equivalent (SWE) and accumulated precipitation made by 748 SNOw TELemetry (SNOTEL) network stations within the western U.S. The purpose of this analysis stems from the frequently occurring scenario found within numerous SNOTEL station measurements where recorded SWE accumulates faster than observed precipitation. In other words, more water is contained within the snow-column than has been observed to have fallen as precipitation. Such inconsistency in the SNOTEL network is statistically and physically explainable with two main bias scenarios identified: 1) precipitation under-catchment and 2) snow drifting. Both scenarios are highly correlated with wind speed, while snow drifting is also affected by the wetness of snowpack. Additional analysis is performed throughout the network to examine how the winds affect the SNOTEL bias. Surface winds derived from the North American Regional Reanalysis and snow property derived from COOP station reports are used for characterizing large- and small-scale conditions responsible for the SWE-precipitation inconsistency. Results of this study provide insight into the frequency and magnitude throughout the SNOTEL network for non-systematic bias, and its impacts on long-term trends.

https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/runoff/2012/AllAbstracts/6