Spatiotemporal SWE Variability of the Columbia River Basin

TitleSpatiotemporal SWE Variability of the Columbia River Basin
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Conference2015
AuthorsLute, Abigail, and Abatzoglou John T.
Conference Name83rd Annual Western Snow Conference
Series TitleProceedings of the Western Snow Conference
Date Published2015
Conference LocationGrass Valley, California
KeywordsColumbia River Basin, interannual variability, principal component analysis, spatial variability, SWE

Understanding the spatial and interannual variability of snowpack in montane regions such as the western U.S. is a key component of water management. Studies in this vein have typically focused on west wide analyses and found correlations with the El Nino Southern Oscillation and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. However, smaller scale, subregional analyses may offer different insights into the spatiotemporal variability of snowpack which may be useful for water management at local scales as well as ecological assessments and planning. We consider March 1, April 1, and May 1 snow water equivalent at 243 sites within the Columbia River Basin over the years 1983-2012. A rotated principal component analysis is performed and resulting scores and loadings are correlated with a range of topographic and climatic variables. The first and second components of April SWE are strongly linked to latitudinal shifts in the jet stream. The second component is also correlated with the occurrence of Pineapple Express events. The third component is strongly correlated with interannual temperature and precipitation variability.