A Simple GIS-Based Snow Accumulation and Melt Model

TitleA Simple GIS-Based Snow Accumulation and Melt Model
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Conference2005
AuthorsBrooks, E. S., and Boll J.
Conference Name73rd Annual Western Snow Conference
Series TitleProceedings of the 73rd Annual Western Snow Conference
Date PublishedApril 2005
PublisherWestern Snow Conference
Conference LocationGreat Falls, MT
KeywordsSnow accumulation, melt, Snow-Tran, Troy, ID, SWE,

A simple distributed snow accumulation and melt (SAM) model was developed for use in GIS-based hydrologic models. Snow drifting is simulated using observed wind speed and distributed snow drift factors, which are generated as a pre-processing step using the SnowTran-3d model. Snowmelt is simulated through a mass and energy balance applied to a single layered snow pack. Snow surface temperatures are simulated without the requirement of an iterative solution using a simple damping depth approach. The SAM model was applied to a 2 ha watershed in Troy, ID having three years of detailed snow water equivalent (SWE) measurements. Snow surface temperatures predicted by the SAM model using a fixed snow damping depth of 0.05 m showed good agreement with SHAW model predictions. The root mean square error (ERMS) between simulated and observed SWE across the site (10-46 mm) was consistent with and in some cases smaller than the ERMS at points where the maximum predicted SWE was fit to field observations (21-26 mm).