By making several minor assumptions and using an empirical technique in one situation, the energy balance of a snow pack can be computed on a continuous basis. Net radiation or its components, air temperature, dew‐point temperature, atmospheric pressure, amount of precipitation and its temperature, surface snow density, and a wind function that relates vapor pressure gradient to moisture transfer as a function of wind speed, must be either measured or estimated. Comparison of computed versus observed snow pack runoff and snow surface temperature for the Lower Meadow lysimeter studies of 1954 at the Central Sierra Snow Laboratory reveals good agreement. A model was constructed by combining the energy balance equations with relationships describing the other components of the snow accumulation and ablation processes. The Stanford Watershed Model is used to determine the time delay from when water leaves the snow pack to the streamflow gaging station. Tests of the model on 5 years of data from the Central Sierra Snow Laboratory resulted in a reasonable simulation of the observed mean daily flow hydrograph and seasonal areal snow cover plot. It is concluded that the model is at least a good approximation to the actual physical processes and should be a valuable tool in further snow hydrology investigations.
Water Resources Research – Wiley
Published: Feb 1, 1968
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