Snow Climatology and Snow Distribution

TitleSnow Climatology and Snow Distribution
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsRango A., DeWalle D.
Book TitlePrinciples of Snow Hydrology
ARIS Log Number182315
Keywordsclimatology, distribution, measurements, models, precipitation, snow, snowpack

Processes controlling snowfall amounts and timing are reasonably well understood, but snow hydrologists still must rely on precipitation and snowpack measurements to obtain basic liquid inputs to models. However, it is becoming possible to predict the distribution of snow across landscapes due to effects of blowing snow and vegetation interception. Blowing snow adjustments are especially needed in cold locations with high wind speeds where entire slopes may be swept free of snow while others may be deeply drifted. Basins with a wide variety of land cover types and extensive dense tree and shrub vegetation will also require adjustment for canopy interception due to differences in types of vegetation as well as vegetation density. A simple reduction of snowfall for interception may suffice in some applications, but in others where time and space scales are expanded, accounting for storage of snow in the canopy and gradual sublimation losses and intermittent throughfall releases are needed. Much has been learned, but blowing snow and canopy interception remain two of the most important areas for future snow hydrology research.