Areal water equivalents for prairie snowcovers by centralized sampling

TitleAreal water equivalents for prairie snowcovers by centralized sampling
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Conference1976
AuthorsSteppuhn, H.
Conference Name44th Annual Western Snow Conference
Series TitleProceedings of the 44th Annual Western Snow Conference
Date PublishedApril 1976
PublisherWestern Snow Conference
Conference LocationCalgary, Alberta
KeywordsSnow cover analysis

Accurate estimates of water quantities stored as snow covering prairie lands can improve runoff forecasting and agricultural management. Centralized sampling offers an efficient shortcut for determining mean, error-qualified, areal water equivalents in shallow snowcovers. This method reduces sample size and retains accuracy (1) by exploiting the close relationship between rural landscapes and snowcover distribution, (2) by separating sampling for snow depth from sampling for verical density, and (3) by sampling for density selectively based on a central depth statistic. Snow data for 1972-75 from 23 areal landscapes in Saskatchewan showed that reducing sample numbers by 1/5 or less resulted in average deviation from the mean areal density of 3.3, 3.1, or 4.8% for the mean, mode,and median depth statistic, repectively. Centralized sampling will comlement any snow meaurement technique, including ground-based tube-coring and serial gamma-sensing.