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Interannual consistency in fractal snow depth patterns at two Colorado mountain sites


Deems, Jeffrey S.; Fassnacht, Steven R.; Elder, Kelly J. 2008. Interannual consistency in fractal snow depth patterns at two Colorado mountain sites. Journal of Hydrometeorology. 9(5): 977-988.

Fractal dimensions derived from log-log variograms are useful for characterizing spatial structure and scaling behavior in snow depth distributions. This study examines the temporal consistency of snow depth scaling features at two sites using snow depth distributions derived from lidar datasets collected in 2003 and 2005. The temporal snow accumulation patterns in these two years were substantially different, but both years represent nearly average 1 April accumulation depths for these sites, with consistent statistical distributions. Two distinct fractal regions are observed in each log-log variogram, separated by a scale break, which indicates a length scale at which a substantial change in the driving processes exists. The lag distance of the scale break is 15 m at the Walton Creek site and 40 m at the Alpine site. The datasets show consistent fractal dimensions and scale break distances between the two years, suggesting that the scaling features observed in spatial snow depth distributions are largely determined by physiography and vegetation characteristics and are relatively insensitive to annual variations in snowfall. Directional variograms also show consistent patterns between years, with smaller fractal dimensions aligned with the dominant wind direction at each site.

Keywords: fractal dimensions, snow depth distributions, scaling


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http://www.fs.fed.us/rm/pubs_other/rmrs_2008_deems_j001.pdf

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Title: RMRS Other Publications: Interannual consistency in fractal snow depth patterns at two Colorado mountain sites
Electronic Publish Date: May 15, 2009
Last Update:
May 15, 2009

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