Event Title

Systematic patterns of the inconsistency between snow water equivalent and accumulated precipitation as reported by the Snowpack Telemetry Network

Presenter Information

Jonathan Meyer
Jiming Jin
Simon Wang

Location

Eccles Conference Center

Event Website

http://water.usu.edu

Start Date

4-1-2014 5:30 PM

End Date

4-1-2014 5:35 PM

Description

The authors investigated the accuracy of snow water equivalent (SWE) observations compiled by 748 Snowpack Telemetry stations and attributed the systematic bias introduced to SWE measurements to drifting snow. Often observed, SWE outpaces accumulated precipitation (AP), which can be statistically and physi- cally explained through 1) precipitation undercatchment and/or 2) drifting snow. Forty-four percent of the 748 stations reported at least one year where the maximum SWE was greater than AP, while 16% of the stations showed this inconsistency for at least 20% of the observed years. Regions with a higher likelihood of in- consistency contained drier snow and are exposed to higher winds speeds, both of which are positively cor- related to drifting snow potential as well as gauge undercatch. Differentiating between gauge undercatch and potential drifting scenarios, days when SWE increased but AP remained zero were used. These drift days occurred on an average of 13.3 days per year for all stations, with 31% greater wind speeds at 10 m for such days (using reanalysis winds). Findings suggest marked consistency between SWE and AP throughout the Cascade Mountains and lower elevations of the interior west while indicating notable inconsistency between these two variables throughout the higher elevations of the Rocky Mountains, Utah mountain ranges, and the Sierra Nevada.

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Apr 1st, 5:30 PM Apr 1st, 5:35 PM

Systematic patterns of the inconsistency between snow water equivalent and accumulated precipitation as reported by the Snowpack Telemetry Network

Eccles Conference Center

The authors investigated the accuracy of snow water equivalent (SWE) observations compiled by 748 Snowpack Telemetry stations and attributed the systematic bias introduced to SWE measurements to drifting snow. Often observed, SWE outpaces accumulated precipitation (AP), which can be statistically and physi- cally explained through 1) precipitation undercatchment and/or 2) drifting snow. Forty-four percent of the 748 stations reported at least one year where the maximum SWE was greater than AP, while 16% of the stations showed this inconsistency for at least 20% of the observed years. Regions with a higher likelihood of in- consistency contained drier snow and are exposed to higher winds speeds, both of which are positively cor- related to drifting snow potential as well as gauge undercatch. Differentiating between gauge undercatch and potential drifting scenarios, days when SWE increased but AP remained zero were used. These drift days occurred on an average of 13.3 days per year for all stations, with 31% greater wind speeds at 10 m for such days (using reanalysis winds). Findings suggest marked consistency between SWE and AP throughout the Cascade Mountains and lower elevations of the interior west while indicating notable inconsistency between these two variables throughout the higher elevations of the Rocky Mountains, Utah mountain ranges, and the Sierra Nevada.

https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/runoff/2014/2014Posters/19