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Long-term investigations of the snow cover in a subalpine semi-forested catchment
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Land and Water Resources Engineering, Environmental Geochemistry and Ecotechnology.
2006 (English)In: Hydrological Processes, ISSN 0885-6087, E-ISSN 1099-1085, Vol. 20, no 2, 411-428 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

To improve spring runoff forecasts from subalpine catchments, detailed spatial simulations of the snow cover in this landscape is obligatory. For more than 30 years, the Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL has been conducting extensive snow cover observations in the subalpine watershed Alptal (central Switzerland). This paper summarizes the conclusions from past snow studies in the Alptal valley and presents an analysis of 14 snow courses located at different exposures and altitudes, partly in open areas and partly in forest. The long-term performance of a physically based numerical snow-vegetation-atmosphere model (COUP) was tested with these snow-course measurements. One single parameter set with meteorological input variables corrected to the prevailing local conditions resulted in a convincing snow water equivalent (SWE) simulation at most sites and for various winters with a wide range of snow conditions. The snow interception approach used in this study was able to explain the forest effect on the SWE as observed on paired snow courses. Finally, we demonstrated for a meadow and a forest site that a successful simulation of the snowpack yields appropriate melt rates.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2006. Vol. 20, no 2, 411-428 p.
Keyword [en]
snow water equivalent, subalpine catchment, numerical model, snow interception, long-term measurements, models
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-15490DOI: 10.1002/hyp.6058ISI: 000235760100014ScopusID: 2-s2.0-33644515634OAI: diva2:333531
QC 20100525Available from: 2010-08-05 Created: 2010-08-05Bibliographically approved

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