The accuracy and compatibility of Canadian snowfall and snow survey data were investigated in the Cold Creek research basin in southern Ontario. Problems in obtaining compatible point measurements of snowfall precipitation from gauge and ruler measurements are discussed. However, it is shown that correction of gauge measurements (MSC Nipher, Universal, Fischer and Porter) of snowfall water equivalent for catch variations caused by environmental factors, notably wind speed, results in compatible storm or seasonal totals. Accurate statistics of basin snow cover were determined from snow courses specifically sited in relation to basin land use. At the time of peak accumulation, which might occur at any time during the winter, there was a statistically significant difference in snow cover between land use categories. Mean basin snow cover was calculated by weighting the snow survey measurements in proportion to basin land use. The need to consider the effect of changing land use on snow course measurements is demonstrated. Results show that as an alternative to direct snow survey measurements, accumulated precipitation may be used to estimate snow cover up to peak accumulation. Net snow cover determined from accumulated corrected gauge data less short‐term melt losses and snow evaporation was within the confidence limits of the basin mean snow cover measured during the winter. Compatible results are only achieved when precipitation measurements are corrected for gauge catch variations and snow survey data are representative of basin land use.
Water Resources Research – Wiley
Published: Aug 1, 1981
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