Presentation on theme: "Introduction to Snow Who Cares? - Importance Precipitation, Distribution, Redistribution Modified, borrowed, or stolen from, Don Cline Mark Williams, Tom."— Presentation transcript:
Introduction to Snow Who Cares? - Importance Precipitation, Distribution, Redistribution Modified, borrowed, or stolen from, Don Cline Mark Williams, Tom Painter, Erin Hood, Denny Hogan, and probably others
Introduction to Snow More specifically, seasonal snow cover – glaciers, no firn, no ice sheets (unfortunately) Def. Develops during winter and ablates by the end of the summer by:melt, sublimation, wind, avalanche
Cold land areas where water is either seasonally or permanently frozen. Terrestrial Cryosphere 0.25 m Frost Penetration One Year in Ten 0 E C Mean Temperature during Coldest Month 100 Days of Ice on Navigable Waterways Most Mountain Regions Over 1000 m in Elevation Most Mountain Regions Over 1000 m in Elevation
Spatial extents of frozen and thawed areas vary significantly on daily, seasonal, and interannual time scales. Terrestrial Cryosphere Over 30% of Earth’s land surface has seasonal snow. On average, 60% of Northern Hemisphere has snow cover in midwinter. About 10% of Earth’s land surface is covered permanently by snow and ice. Seasonally and permanently frozen soils occur over ~35% of Earth’s land surface.
Process-Oriented State Variables Snow and Freeze/ Thaw Processes Snow Water Equivalent (Depth and Density) Snow Water Equivalent (Depth and Density) Snow and Frozen Soil Internal Energy (relative to melting point) Snow and Frozen Soil Internal Energy (relative to melting point) Snow Wetness (Liquid Water Content) Snow Wetness (Liquid Water Content) Snow Grain Size, Albedo Snow and Soil Surface Temperature Snow and Soil Surface Temperature Soil Moisture Cold Land/Atmosphere Energy Exchanges Cold Land/Atmosphere Energy Exchanges Boundary Layer Turbulence and Stability Boundary Layer Turbulence and Stability Liquid Water Movement through Snow and Soil Liquid Water Movement through Snow and Soil Water Vapor Movement through Snow and Soil Water Vapor Movement through Snow and Soil Effects of Clouds on Radiation Energy Fluxes Effects of Clouds on Radiation Energy Fluxes Precipitation Characteristics FEEDBACKSFEEDBACKS Energy Sink
A. Effects of Snow Cover on climate albedo - overhead 2 reflectivity (new snow ~ 0.8-9, older snow ~ 0.5-6). Compare this to ice 0.3-4, forest 0.03-.2 and water 0.05-.3. Result: Blocks incoming radiation from heating the surface so solar energy is returned to space instead of being retained as heat in the atmosphere. Strong climate effects: surface temperatures - stay depressed over snow. ground temperatures - with low thermal conductivity, snow serves as an insulator and keeps vast areas of soil unfrozen also strong climate feedback effects: more snow decreases temp which causes more snow which will then persist longer. Ex. winter 0f 92-3 after Mt Pinatubo was colder and longer because of ash in the air Who Cares?
B. Importance in Water Resources Controls the hydrologic cycle - water is stored over winter and released in a pulse during spring melt. Presents difficulties for water managers, reason for existance of resevoirs frozen water = 80% of fresh water on earth Major contributor to river and ground water in mid/high latitudes. ex. Seasonal Snowcovers - W. US: Calif. 80% of water, Colo. 70% of water Who Cares?
C. Avalanches - impacts on backcountry users & mountain residents: Estimated to be 100,000 in the US on average, ~10,000 reported and 100 or 1% cause problems - property damage and injury Damage to buildings and structures - only $1/2 million per year in US but much higher in Europe because of dense population Who Cares?
A tremendous gap exists between the scales of our process-oriented understanding, and the scales of synoptic weather and climate.
Snow Accumulation/ Ablation Soil Freeze/Thaw Transitions Most of our knowledge of cold land hydrologic processes is limited to local and hillslope scales. Snow Energy and Mass Exchanges Infiltration, Unsaturated Flow Evapotranspiration Overland Flow Saturated Flow
Definition: Snow Water Equivalent
What factors control the distribution of snow extent and snow water equivalent? Scale Dependent Question Continental Scale Mesoscale Basin Scale
Continental Scale Latitude Elevation Orography
MesoScale Synoptic scale storms Elevation Topographic configuration 100 km
Maritime Snowpacks Deep snowpack (15-25 m annual snowfall) High density (120 kg/m 3 new snow density) Moderate air temperatures (-1.3 o C) Low temperature/vapor pressure gradient (< 10 o C/m) Avalanches during or immediately after storms Example ranges: Sierra Nevada, Cascades, Coast Range (B.C.)