Submitted to: American Society of Mechanical Engineers
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/20/1995
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: In the western United States a majority of the water supply is derived from winter snowpack, primarily in mountainous regions. In order to improve water supply forecasts, including the timing and spatial distribution of water, a more complete, predictive understanding of precipitation (including snow) dynamics in these regions is needed. A research study has been initiated to investigate precipitation and wind distribution over a well-instrumented watershed monitored by the USDA-Agricultural Research Service. The study is focusing on combining newest computer technologies, including a geographic information system and a highly-sophisticated computer model of atmospheric behavior. Preliminary research results are presented for a case.
Technical Abstract: A research study has been initiated to analyze and model the variability of precipitation and snow distribution in a mountainous watershed. The study is complementing an existing, long-term record of snow hydrology on western rangelands. It is providing a dynamic treatment of the snow transport process and a better understanding of the interaction of wind and topography in distributing the snow. The study is integrating the capabilities of a state-of-the-art quantitative precipitation forecasting (QPF) model with the capabilities of a geographic information system (GIS) for snow transport and accumulation processes over space and time. The unique combination of a well-instrumented watershed, GIS techniques, and a state-of-the-art QPF modeling system are expected to provide a more accurate understanding of land surface hydrology over a range of scales. A goal of the research, supported by the NOAA Office of Global Change Programs, is to assess regional impacts of global climate change on land surface hydrology.