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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Implementation of a Remote Sensing-Snowmelt Runoff Forecasting System in the Rio Grande Basin

Authors
item Rango, Albert
item Gomez-Landesa, Enrique - NEW MEXICO STATE UNIV
item Havstad, Kris
item Bleiweiss, Max - NEW MEXICO STATE UNIV
item Tanksley, Koli - UNIV OF ARIZONA, TUCSON
item Dewalle, David - PENN STATE UNIV
item Kite, Geoff - HYDROLOGIC SOLUTIONS

Submitted to: American Geophysical Union
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: November 19, 2002
Publication Date: December 6, 2002
Citation: RANGO, A., GOMEZ-LANDESA, E., HAVSTAD, K.M., BLEIWEISS, M., TANKSLEY, K., DEWALLE, D.R., KITE, G. IMPLEMENTATION OF A REMOTE SENSING-SNOWMELT RUNOFF FORECASTING SYSTEM IN THE RIO GRANDE BASIN. FALL MEETING OF THE AMERICAN GEOPHYSICAL UNION. 2002. V. 83(47). P. F540.

Technical Abstract: Information on snow water resources is a major concern in river basins where the snowmelt runoff can be a significant contributor to total discharge, even in basins such as the Rio Grande where desert makes up much of the downstream area. Snow resource information is especially useful in the Rio Grande for irrigation, hydropower, and water supply management. The system, being developed for the high elevation portions of the Rio Grande Basin, makes use of satellite snow cover data as well as SNOTEL data from remote, ground-based instrumentation. Several problems in using the new MODIS satellite data have been addressed in order to input it into the modeling system in the basin, including the Bowtie Effect and topographic shadowing (see Gomez-Landesa and Rango, 2002). The snow distribution in March-May in snowmelt headwater basins of the Rio Grande is input into the Snowmelt Runoff Model (SRM) to generate forecasts of daily flows. To allow forecasts earlier in the hydrologic year, the SNOTEL data are relied upon until the snowmelt is underway (see DeWalle et al., 2002) and the satellite data play a larger role. The outflow generated by SRM from the snowmelt basins is then used as input to the SLURP model which is used to provide discharge for the entire basin, as well as for tributaries only affected by rainfall. The utilization of SRM in the snow-fed basins also allows generation of climate-change-affected hydrographs for individual tributaries. The Jemez River Basin (New Mexico), a designated wild river, is being used for validation of both snow cover maps and discharge forecasts, whereas the upper Rio Grande Basin (Colorado) has been selected for evaluation of the climate change scenarios.

Last Modified: 10/21/2014