Water release from a low elevation snowpack in the Sierra Nevada

TitleWater release from a low elevation snowpack in the Sierra Nevada
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Conference1989
AuthorsKattelmann, R. C., and McGurk B. J.
Conference Name57th Annual Western Snow Conference
Series TitleProceedings of the 57th Annual Western Snow Conference
Date PublishedApril 1989
PublisherWestern Snow Conference
Conference LocationFort Collins, Colorado
KeywordsIntermittent snowpack, Snowmelt, Water release

The intermittent snowpack zone of the Sierra Nevada occupies more than a third of most river basins on the west slope of the range. Snow cover changes rapidly throughout winter in this one from about 1000 m to 1600 m elevation. Despite the importance of this region in producing winter streamflow, little is known about its snow hydrology. Measurements from three snow melt lysimeters of 20 square meters each at Blue Canyon provide the first detailed look at snowpack water release in the imtermittent snow zone of the Sierra Nevada. At this site, water input to the soil occurs almost continuously over a six month period. Snowmelt occurs on almost all winter days except during snow storms. New snow begins to melt within a few hours after a stom. The shallow snow cover causes little delay to rainfall and can melt rapidly during particularly warm storms. Combined rainfall and snowmelt at the site has exceeded 20 cm per (etc).