Physical Controls of Snowmelt in the HJ Andrews Experimental Forest

TitlePhysical Controls of Snowmelt in the HJ Andrews Experimental Forest
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Conference2006
AuthorsMazurkiewicz, A. B., and Callery D. G.
Conference Name74th Annual Western Snow Conference
Series TitleProceedings of the 74th Annual Western Snow Conference
Date PublishedApril 2006
PublisherWestern Snow Conference
Conference LocationLas Cruces, NM
KeywordsEnergy balance, rain on snow, HJ Andrews, SNOBAL, radiation flux, net radiation

The relative importance of snow energy balance (EB) components in rain-on-snow environments is poorly understood. We investigated the snow EB over eight snow seasons (1996-2003) at three meteorological sites in the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest. We used a physically based snowmelt model (SNOBAL) to quantify EB components at annual, bi-weekly and event timescales. The study period included 20 measurable ROS events. Net radiation flux dominated the EB over the annual timescale. Even during ROS events, net radiation dominated snow EB-turbulent exchanges of sensible and latent heat dominated melt only during periods of high winds. During the largest ROS event in 1996, latent and sensible heat fluxes amounted to 32 % of total flux. In general, ground heat fluxes were high when there was a shallow transient snowpack. Energy balance components during several ROS events varied among three sites, however, net radiation was the dominant driver of melt at each of the sites, even during ROS events.