Using geostatistical methods to estimate snow water equivalence distribution in a mountain watershed

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Abstract

Knowledge of the spatial distribution of snow water equivalence (SWE) is necessary to adequately forecast the volume and timing of snowmelt runoff.  In April 1997, peak accumulation snow depth and density measurements were independently taken in the Loch Vale watershed (6.6 km2), Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado.  Geostatistics and classical statistics were used to estimate SWE distribution across the watershed.  Snow depths were spatially distributed across the watershed through kriging interpolation methods which provide unbiased estimates that have minimum variances.  Snow densities were spatially modeled through regression analysis.  Combining the modeled depth and density with snow-covered area (SCA produced an estimate of the spatial distribution of SWE.  The kriged estimates of snow depth explained 37-68% of the observed variance in the measured depths.  Steep slopes, variably strong winds, and complex energy balance in the watershed contribute to a large degree of heterogeneity in snow depth.

Additional publication details

Publication type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Title Using geostatistical methods to estimate snow water equivalence distribution in a mountain watershed
Year Published 1998
Language English
Publisher Western Snow Conference
Contributing office(s) Fort Collins Science Center
Description 12 p.
Larger Work Type Conference Paper
Larger Work Subtype Conference Paper
Larger Work Title Proceedings of the 66th Annual Western Snow Conference
First page 100
Last page 111
Conference Title Western Snow Conference
Conference Location Snowbird, UT
Conference Date April 1998
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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