Determining variability of snow accumulation and ablation on western rangelands

TitleDetermining variability of snow accumulation and ablation on western rangelands
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Conference1985
AuthorsCooley, K. R., and Robertson D. C.
Conference Name53rd Annual Western Snow Conference
Series TitleProceedings of the 53rd Annual Western Snow Conference
Date PublishedApril 1985
PublisherWestern Snow Conference
Conference LocationBoulder, Colorado
KeywordsAblation, Rangeland, Snow accumulation

Snow accumulation and melt on western rangelands, where wind often plays a dominant role on snow distribution, can be extremely variable over even relatively small areas. This variability causes problems in 1) application and verification of snowmelt models, 2) determining flood and water supply relationships, 3) roadway design and maintenance, and 4) livestock and wildlife management and operations.This study was designed to determine variability in snow distribution and melt on a 26 ha site called Upper Sheep creek, which is part of the Reynolds creek Experimental Watershed located in southwestern Idaho. Instruments designed to continously monitor precipitation, incoming solar radiation, wind direction and speed, air temperature, relative humidity, snowmelt, and four layers of soil moisture and temperature have been in operation for one season. In addition snow depth and density measurements at 30 and/or 60 meter grid spacings, and aerial photos were obtained at approximately two week intervals during the snow accumulation and melt period.