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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Watershed Management Research

2009 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416)
1. Evaluate how snow deposition, energy balance and melt rates vary with site conditions such as elevation, topographic structure and vegetation cover. 2. Use high resolution remote sensing of terrain and vegetation structure to improve characterization of landscape features and condition. 3. Continure testing, evaluation, validation and improvement of meterologic, hydrologic and snoe models. 4. develop a modeling strategy for extending point and catchment-scale results to larger areas and regions.

1b. Approach (from AD-416)
This project will involve collaboration between ARS and University of Idaho scientists to: a. extend the surface energy balance and flux measurement efforts to evaluate growing season conditions; b. continue software testing and development for meteorological, hydrologic and snow modleing; and c. analysis of recently acquired OWLX LiDAR data, including development of specific products, and modification of simulation model structures. Documents SCA with U of ID.

3. Progress Report
This report documents the current work under an SCA with the University of Idaho and is a follow-on to work conducted under an SCA which expired at the end of FY2008. The assessment of sophisticated methods for measuring the loss of water to evaporation was completed, showing that measured evaporation closely matched simulated, and that it is feasible to use these sophisticated methods at a remote mountain site during winter. This work showed how to improve our snow models by better specifying the way snow surface conditions vary over mountain watersheds. The Northwest Watershed Research Center is working with university cooperators on how to use Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) data to produce an innovatory of the size and distribution of different vegetation types in remote regions such as the Great Basin. Software engineering provided by the cooperator produced an updated version of the ARS snow and climate modeling software. This was released to the public through the National Science Foundation’s EpsCor program. Overall, this project has lead to improved cooperation between the University of Idaho and ARS in Boise. Project progress and status are reported through frequent email, regular conference calls and quarterly meetings with university cooperators. This project supports the accomplishment of CRIS objective 3: Develop improved coupling of surface and below-ground models for spatial simulation of snowmelt, runoff, soil temperature and moisture, and streamflow.

4. Accomplishments

Last Modified: 05/23/2017
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