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Comparison of estimates of snow input to a small alpine watershed

Posted date: May 28, 2015
Publication Year: 
Authors: Sommerfeld, R. A.; Musselman, Robert (Bob) C.; Wooldridge, G. L.
Publication Series: 
Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Source: Journal of Hydrology. 120: 295-307.


We have used five methods to estimate the snow water equivalent input to the Glacier Lakes Ecosystem Experiments Site (GLEES) in south-central Wyoming during the winter 1987-1988 and to obtain an estimate of the errors. The methods are: (1) the Martinec and Rango degree-day method; (2) Wooldridge et al. method of determining the average yearly snowfall from tree morphology; (3) precipitation gage measurements from the Wyoming Water Research Center Snowy Range Observatory; (4) NADP collector data; (5) an independent estimate from snow core data from a small catchment in the GLEES. Estimated water input ranged from a low of 65 cm H20 (liquid water equivalent) for the precipitation gage to a high of 85cm H20 for the Martinec and Rango method. An evaluation of the biases in the methods indicate that the true value may be nearer the high end of this range.


Sommerfeld, R. A.; Musselman, R. C.; Wooldridge, G. L. 1990. Comparison of estimates of snow input to a small alpine watershed. Journal of Hydrology. 120: 295-307.