Modeling Alpine Snow Hydrology in the Canadian Rocky Mountains

TitleModeling Alpine Snow Hydrology in the Canadian Rocky Mountains
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Conference2009
AuthorsPomeroy, J., MacDonald M., DeBeer C., and Brown T.
Conference Name77th Annual Western Snow Conference
Series TitleProceedings of the 77th Annual Western Snow Conference
Date PublishedApril 2009
PublisherWestern Snow Conference
Conference LocationCanmore, AB
KeywordsMarmont Creek, blowing snow, snowmelt, snow covered area depletion, hydrological modeling, CHRM

Field and modeling studies at Marmot Creek Research Basin in the Canadian Rocky Mountain have been directed to advance the understanding of snow processes and to improve hydrometeorological models of snowpack, streamflow and related atmospheric variables. Modeling studies of blowing snow over alpine terrain are showing promise in the prediction of the spatial distributions of snow water equivalent in complex environments. It calculates snow accumulation as a residual of the snow redistribution and sublimation processes. An important new feature is the application of the model to aggregated landscape units (Hydrological Response Units or HRU). Comparisons of model outputs to snow surveys suggest that this level of spatial resolution and physically based simulation can produce reliable snow accumulation estimates in Canadian Rocky Mountain alpine catchments. Snow ablation studies have focussed on application of the energy balance to estimate snowmelt over landscape units with consideration of sub-unit depletion of snow covered area. The calculated melt rates agree well with observations snow surveys. Improved algorithms are being used to update a modular, object-oriented computer simulation of the cold regions hydrological cycle, the Cold Regions Hydrological Model, CRHM.