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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Methods for Developing Time-Series Climate Surfaces to Drive Topographically Distributed Energy-and Water-Balance Models

Authors
item Susong, David - USGS
item MARKS, DANIEL
item Garen, David - NRCS

Submitted to: Hydrological Processes
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 18, 1999
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Topographically distributed energy-and water-balance models can accurately simulate both the development and melting of a seasonal snowcover in the mountain basins. To do this they require time-series climate surfaces of air temperature, humidity, wind speed, precipitation, and solar and thermal radiation. If data are available, these parameters can be adequately estimated at time steps of one to three hours. Unfortunately, climate monitoring in mountain basins is very limited, and the full range of elevations and exposures that affect climate conditions, snow deposition, and melt is seldom sampled. Detailed time-series climate surfaces have been successfully developed using limited data and relatively simple methods. We present a synopsis of the tools and methods used to combine limited data with simple corrections for the topographic controls to generate high temporal resolution time-series images of these climate parameters. Methods used include simulations, elevational gradients, and detrended kriging. The generated climate surfaces are evaluated at points and spatially to determine if they are reasonable approximations of actual conditions. Recommendations are made for the addition of critical parameters and measurement sites into routine monitoring systems in mountain basins.

Technical Abstract: Topographically distributed energy-and water-balance models can accurately simulate both the development and melting of a seasonal snowcover in the mountain basins. To do this they require time-series climate surfaces of air temperature, humidity, wind speed, precipitation, and solar and thermal radiation. If data are available, these parameters can be adequately estimated at time steps of one to three hours. Unfortunately, climate monitoring in mountain basins is very limited, and the full range of elevations and exposures that affect climate conditions, snow deposition, and melt is seldom sampled. Detailed time-series climate surfaces have been successfully developed using limited data and relatively simple methods. We present a synopsis of the tools and methods used to combine limited data with simple corrections for the topographic controls to generate high temporal resolution time-series images of these climate parameters. Methods used include simulations, elevational gradients, and detrended kriging. The generated climate surfaces are evaluated at points and spatially to determine if they are reasonable approximations of actual conditions. Recommendations are made for the addition of critical parameters and measurement sites into routine monitoring systems in mountain basins.

Last Modified: 7/25/2014
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