Rocky Mountain Research Station Publications

RMRS Online Publication - Journal Articles, External Publications, and Special Reports
Mesocell study area snow distributions for the Cold Land Processes Experiment (CLPX)

Liston, Glen E.; Hiemstra, Christopher A.; Elder, Kelly; Cline, Donald W. 2008. Mesocell study area snow distributions for the Cold Land Processes Experiment (CLPX). Journal of Hydrometeorology. 9(5): 957-976.

The Cold Land Processes Experiment (CLPX) had a goal of describing snow-related features over a wide range of spatial and temporal scales. This required linking disparate snow tools and datasets into one coherent, integrated package. Simulating realistic high-resolution snow distributions and features requires a snow-evolution modeling system (SnowModel) that can distribute meteorological forcings, simulate snowpack accumulation and ablation processes, and assimilate snow-related observations. A SnowModel was developed and used to simulate winter snow accumulation across three 30 km x 30 km domains, enveloping the CLPX mesocell study areas (MSAs) in Colorado. The three MSAs have distinct topography, vegetation, meteorological, and snow characteristics. Simulations were performed using a 30-m grid increment and spanned the snow accumulation season (1 October 2002-1 April 2003). Meteorological forcing was provided by 27 meteorological stations and 75 atmospheric analyses grid points, distributed using a meteorological model (MicroMet). The simulations included a data assimilation model (SnowAssim) that adjusted simulated snow water equivalent (SWE) toward ground-based and airborne SWE observations. The observations consisted of SWE over three 1 km x 1 km intensive study areas (ISAs) for each MSA and a collection of 117 airborne gamma observations, each integrating area 10 km long by 300 m wide. Simulated SWE distributions displayed considerably more spatial heterogeneity than the observations alone, and the simulated distribution patterns closely fit the current understanding of snow evolution processes and observed snow depths. This is the result of the MicroMet/SnowModel's relatively finescale representations of orographic precipitation, elevation-dependant snowmelt, wind redistribution, and snow-vegetation interactions.

Keywords: Cold Land Processes Experiment (CLPX), mesocell study area, snow distributions, snow-evolution modeling system (SnowModel)

About PDFs: For best results, do not open the PDF in your Web browser. Right-click on the PDF link to download the PDF file directly to your computer. Click here for more PDF help.

Download Article

PDF File Size: 1 MB

Title: RMRS RMRS Other Publications: Mesocell study area snow distributions for the Cold Land Processes Experiment (CLPX)
Electronic Publish Date: February 2, 2009
Last Update:
February 2, 2009

RMRS Publications | Order a publication | Contact Us