Publications

Modeling snow accumulation and ablation processes in forested environments

Citation

Andreadis, K.M., Storck, P., Lettenmaier, D.P.  2009. Modeling snow accumulation and ablation processes in forested environments. Water Resources Research, 45, W05429, doi:10.1029/2008WR007042.


Abstract

The effects of forest canopies on snow accumulation and ablation processes can be very important for the hydrology of midlatitude and high-latitude areas. A mass and energy balance model for snow accumulation and ablation processes in forested environments was developed utilizing extensive measurements of snow interception and release in a maritime mountainous site in Oregon. The model was evaluated using 2 years of weighing lysimeter data and was able to reproduce the snow water equivalent (SWE) evolution throughout winters both beneath the canopy and in the nearby clearing, with correlations to observations ranging from 0.81 to 0.99. Additionally, the model was evaluated using measurements from a Boreal Ecosystem-Atmosphere Study (BOREAS) field site in Canada to test the robustness of the canopy snow interception algorithm in a much different climate. Simulated SWE was relatively close to the observations for the forested sites, with discrepancies evident in some cases. Although the model formulation appeared robust for both types of climates, sensitivity to parameters such as snow roughness length and maximum interception capacity suggested the magnitude of improvements of SWE simulations that might be achieved by calibration.