Kane, D. L., Berezovskaya, S.
Strategies for measuring snow water equivalent for hydrological applications: Part 2, Spatial distribution at the watershed scale
// 16th international symposium and workshop "Northern research Basins". Petrozavodsk: KarRC RAS, 2007. Pp. 57-65
Keywords: Snow distribution, watershed scale, Arctic, Alaska, snow depth, SWE
One of the challenges for hydrologists is to make predictions of the runoff response of Arctic watersheds. This is especially true for snowmelt when data is sparse and of poor quality, solid precipitation is redistributed by wind events and sublimation can deplete the snowpack. At the small watershed scale we can saturate the catchment with measurements to get a good approximation of the snowpack. However, for larger basins this is not logistically possible. In this paper we talk about our present snow water equivalent (SWE) measurement strategy for a group of nested watersheds on the North Slope of Alaska in which we try to capture the spatial variability. We present some concentrated field measurement techniques to evaluate our normal sampling protocol. These results show that our techniques work for capturing SWE variability from scales ranging from 100 m to 10,000 m and possibly more. We cannot capture SWE differences for scales less than a few meters such as an incised stream. We need to couple our field measurement program with a blowing snow model and compare results for large watersheds (>10,000 km2).