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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Comparison of Snow Deposition, Snow Cover Energy Balance and Snowmelt at Two Sites in a Semi-Arid Mountain Basin

Authors
item Marks, Daniel
item Winstral, Adam

Submitted to: Journal of Hydrometeorology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: November 27, 2000
Publication Date: November 20, 2001
Citation: Marks, Daniel G., Winstral, Adam H., Comparison of Snow Deposition, Snow Cover Energy Balance and Snowmelt at Two Sites in a Semi-Arid Mountain Basin; Journal of Hydrometeorology, pp. 213-227, v.2., 2001.

Interpretive Summary: Significant differences in snow deposition, development of the seasonal snowcover, and the timing of melt occur between two experimental sites located in a head-water drainage of the Reynolds Creek Experimental Watershed (RCEW)in the Owyhee Mountains of southwestern Idaho. Site 176, the primary high elevation climate station for RCEW, is located at 2097m on a broad shelf on the southern ridge of RCEW. Site RMSP, the primary snow study plot for RCEW, is in a grove of aspen and fir trees at 2061m, just in the lee of the ridge on which site 176 is located. The more exposed site 176 is subject to much higher wind speeds and precipitation is about half that measured at the topographically and canopy sheltered site RMSP. At site RMSP the seasonal snowcover is deeper, and melt-out occurs 3-6 weeks later. A thirty-five year snow and climate, and stream discharge record was used to drive a point snowcover energy and mass balance model, SNOBAL, to evaluate these differences for three water years: the 1984 water year, the largest discharge year on record (204 percent of average); The 1992 water year, the smallest discharge year on record (36 percent of average); and the 1999 water year (140 percent of average).

Technical Abstract: Significant differences in snow deposition, development of the seasonal snowcover, and the timing of melt occur between two experimental sites located in a head-water drainage of the Reynolds Creek Experimental Watershed (RCEW)in the Owyhee Mountains of southwestern Idaho. Site 176, the primary high elevation climate station for RCEW, is located at 2097m on a broad shelf on the southern ridge of RCEW. Site RMSP, the primary snow study plot for RCEW, is in a grove of aspen and fir trees at 2061m, just in the lee of the ridge on which site 176 is located. The more exposed site 176 is subject to much higher wind speeds and precipitation is about half that measured at the topographically and canopy sheltered site RMSP. At site RMSP the seasonal snowcover is deeper, and melt-out occurs 3-6 weeks later. A thirty-five year snow and climate, and stream discharge record was used to drive a point snowcover energy and mass balance model, SNOBAL, to evaluate these differences for three water years: the 1984 water year, the largest discharge year on record (204 percent of average); The 1992 water year, the smallest discharge year on record (36 percent of average); and the 1999 water year (140 percent of average).

Last Modified: 9/10/2014
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