Event Title

Recent Advances in Measurements and Modeling of Snow Hydrology in the Western U.S.

Presenter Information

McKenzie Skiles

Location

ECC 216 - Auditorium

Streaming Media

Start Date

3-28-2017 9:40 AM

End Date

3-28-2017 10:00 AM

Description

Abstract:

The mountain snowpack is a critical component of the water budget in the Western US; the timing and magnitude of snowmelt controls the timing, rate, and volume of river runoff, which in turn influences water availability, flood potential, hydroelectric generation, and water quality. The natural reservoir effect of snow is at risk. Persistent and annual snow cover is declining and deposition of light absorbing impurities, a relatively new phenomenon in the region, is accelerating melt and shifting runoff timing and intensity. Although it is well understood that snow water equivalent (SWE) and snow albedo are the two most critical properties for understanding amount and timing of snowmelt runoff, these measurements are relatively sparse, non-representative, or in terms of snow albedo, essentially nonexistent. We know that temperature/statistical forecast methods are increasingly losing utility as climate variability increases, and new physically based methods will be needed in the future. I will discuss recent advancements in measuring and modeling snow hydrology in the Western US, including constraining the physical impacts of light absorbing impurities, mapping SWE and albedo at the watershed scale with the NASA-JPL Airborne Snow Observatory, and incorporating near real time remotely sensed snow data into snow energy balance and hydrology models.

Comments

McKenzie Skiles - University of Utah, - Geography Department

Bio: McKenzie is originally from Anchorage, AK. She completed her undergraduate degrees in Geography and Environmental Studies and her MS in Geography at the University of Utah, her PhD in Geography at UCLA, and her postdoctoral research at the California Institute of Technology and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Her research interests include mountain and snow hydrology, snow optics and remote sensing, and radiative forcing by light absorbing particulates in snow. She recently accepted a position in the University of Utah’s Society, Water, and Climate research cluster as a faculty member in the Geography Department.

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Mar 28th, 9:40 AM Mar 28th, 10:00 AM

Recent Advances in Measurements and Modeling of Snow Hydrology in the Western U.S.

ECC 216 - Auditorium

Abstract:

The mountain snowpack is a critical component of the water budget in the Western US; the timing and magnitude of snowmelt controls the timing, rate, and volume of river runoff, which in turn influences water availability, flood potential, hydroelectric generation, and water quality. The natural reservoir effect of snow is at risk. Persistent and annual snow cover is declining and deposition of light absorbing impurities, a relatively new phenomenon in the region, is accelerating melt and shifting runoff timing and intensity. Although it is well understood that snow water equivalent (SWE) and snow albedo are the two most critical properties for understanding amount and timing of snowmelt runoff, these measurements are relatively sparse, non-representative, or in terms of snow albedo, essentially nonexistent. We know that temperature/statistical forecast methods are increasingly losing utility as climate variability increases, and new physically based methods will be needed in the future. I will discuss recent advancements in measuring and modeling snow hydrology in the Western US, including constraining the physical impacts of light absorbing impurities, mapping SWE and albedo at the watershed scale with the NASA-JPL Airborne Snow Observatory, and incorporating near real time remotely sensed snow data into snow energy balance and hydrology models.