Snowpack Variability Across Forest Stand Boundaries in a Moderate Snowpack

TitleSnowpack Variability Across Forest Stand Boundaries in a Moderate Snowpack
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Conference2019
AuthorsMarziliano, Adrian, and Webb Ryan
Conference Name87th Annual Western Snow Conference
Conference LocationReno, NV
Keywordsenergy budget, forest stand boundary, moderate snowpack, snow hydrology, snow variability, water resource management

Snowpack in the southwestern United States is the largest source of water for irrigation and municipal use for much of the western states. The Colorado River alone provides water for some 40 million residents. As climate change continues to effect snowfall each year, the need for more accurate snow budget estimates will become increasingly important. The advancement of snow measurement methods and technologies has allowed for greater efficiency in data collection for calculating snow water equivalent (SWE) distribution. For these new technologies to be effectively utilized, a better understanding of the influences on snowpack variability is necessary. This study observes variability with regards to snow depth and density that could affect the accuracy of SWE estimates across forest stand boundaries. A forest stand boundary in the Sandia Mountains was studied to investigate variability between open and canopy transect locations. Snow pits and depth transects are utilized to study snowpack properties and changes thereof in the transect area. These results have the potential to increase the accuracy of water supply estimates from snowpack to increase the effectiveness of future water management budgets.