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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Boise, Idaho » Northwest Watershed Research Center » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #112372

Title: AN EVALUATION OF THE WYOMING GAUGE SYSTEM FOR SNOWFALL MEASUREMENT

Author
item YANG, DAQING
item KANE, DOUGLAS
item Hanson, Clayton

Submitted to: Water Resources Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/13/2000
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: The Wyoming snow fence (shield) has been widely used with precipitation gauges for snowfall measurement at more than 25 locations in Alaska since late 1970's. This gauge's measurements have been taken as the reference for correcting wind-induced gauge undercatch of snowfall in Alaska. Recently this shield was tested in a World Meteorological Society study at four locations in the USA and Canada for 6 winter seasons. The study data collected at the four sites represented a variety of climate, terrain and exposure. The results of this study show that; 1)the mean snow catch efficiency of the Wyoming gauge is about 80- 90 percent; 2) there is a close linear relation between the measurements of the Wyoming gauge and a reference gauge that may serve as a transfer function to adjust the Wyoming gauge records to obtain an estimate of the true snowfall amount; 3) catch efficiency of the Wyoming gauge does not change with wind speed and temperature; and 4) Wyoming gauge measurements are generally compatible to the snowpack water equivalent at selected location in northern Alaska.

Technical Abstract: Recently the Wyoming snow fence (shield) was tested in the World Meteorological Organization Solid Precipitation Measurement Intercomparison Project at four locations in the USA and Canada for 6 winter seasons. At the Intercomparison sites, an octagonal vertical Double Fence with a Russian Tretyakov gauge or a Universal Belfort recording gauge was installed and used as the Intercomparison Reference (DFIR) to provide true snowfall amounts for this intercomparison experiment. The intercomparison data collected at the four sites represent a variety of climate, terrain and exposure. Based on these data sets, the performance of the Wyoming gauge system for snowfall observations was carefully evaluated against the DFIR and snow cover data. The results show:1)the mean snow catch efficiency of the Wyoming gauge to the DFIR is about 80-90 percent; 2)there exists a close linear relation between the measurements of the two gauge systems and this relation may serve as a transfer function to adjust the Wyoming gauge records to obtain an estimate of the true snowfall amount; 3)catch efficiency of the Wyoming gauge does not change with wind speed and temperature; 4) Wyoming gauge measurements are generally compatible to the snowpack water equivalent at selected locations in northern Alaska.