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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Spatial Snow Density Estimates in Support of ASO:Combining Ground Based Radar with Energy Balance Modeling

Location: Northwest Watershed Management Research

Project Number: 5362-13610-010-06
Project Type: Trust

Start Date: Apr 01, 2013
End Date: Jul 31, 2013

Objective:
In support of the NASA Airborne Snow Observatory (ASO) flight campaign in Colorado and California during Spring 2013, the USDA ARS Northwest Watershed Research Center and the Cryosphere Geophysics and Remote Sensing group at Boise State University propose to: 1.1 Perform initial iSnobal simulations over the Tuolumne basin in the Sierra Nevada, using precipitation and meteorological data. 1.2 Investigate modification of the density/depth functionality in the iSnobal snow model. 1.3 Develop procedures for precipitation and weather data ingestion to support “real-time” iSnobal simulations. 1.4 Develop procedures for actively reinitializing iSnobal simulations using ASO-LiDAR derived depths to support “real-time” iSnobal SWE prediction. 1.5 Quantify uncertainty and bias in both ASO-LiDAR and iSnobal simulated SWE using data from ground radar-derived SWE, and in-situ measurements of depth and density. 1.6 Use data collected and preliminary results to develop a multi-year proposal to use ground-based radar and airborne LiDAR observations to optimize iSnobal over the study region. A major emphasis will be placed on improving the model estimates of density to provide SWE estimates derived from a combination of LiDAR snow depths and iSnobal density estimates.

Approach:
Use the iSnobal energy balance snow model first to inform the design of the field campaigns, then to obtain spatially distributed snow densities to accurately convert ASO depth data to SWE products. iSnobal simulations will be used to estimate density to combine with LiDAR-derived snow depths for estimates of SWE volume over each study area. These initial simulations will then be updated using a combination of the radar SWE estimates and the in-situ measurements from the field campaigns. Improvement of the iSnobal density function will be undertaken following the 2013 field campaign, for updating the SWE volume estimates, and determination of an overall uncertainty distribution, based on LiDAR, simulation model and GPS errors, over the Sierra field site.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014
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