Title Altitudinal dependency of snow amounts in two small alpine catchments; can catchment- wide snow amounts be estimated via single snow or precipitation stations?
Author Grünewald, T.; Lehning, M.
Author Affil Grünewald, T., WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research, Davos-Dorf, Switzerland
Source Annals of Glaciology, 52(58), p.153- 158, . Publisher: International Glaciological Society, Cambridge, United Kingdom. ISSN: 0260-3055
Publication Date 2011
Notes In English. 32 refs. GeoRef Acc. No: 310198
Index Terms aerial surveys; Alpine landscapes; altitude; precipitation (meteorology); climate; river basins; hydrology; snow; snow water equivalent; topography; Switzerland-- Swiss Alps; airborne laser scanning; airborne methods; alpine environment; Alps; atmospheric precipitation; Central Europe; depth; drainage basins; Europe; laser scanning; monitoring; Piz Lagrev; seasonal variations; spatial distribution; Swiss Alps; Switzerland; terrestrial environment; Wannengrat
Abstract The spatial distribution and the local amount of snow in mountainous regions strongly depend on the spatial characteristics of snowfall, snow deposition and snow redistribution. Uniform altitudinal gradients can only represent a part of these influences but are without alternative for use in larger-scale models. How well altitudinal gradients represent the true snow distribution has not been assessed. We analyse altitudinal characteristics of snow stored in two high-alpine catchments in Switzerland. Peak winter snow depths were monitored using high-resolution airborne laser scanning technology. These snow depths were transferred to snow water equivalent by applying simple density estimations. From these data, altitudinal gradients were calculated for the total catchment areas and for selected subareas characterized by different accumulation patterns. These gradients were then compared with gradients resulting from automated snow depth measurements obtained from several snow stations on different height levels located in the catchments, and with estimations from climatological precipitation gradients. The analysis showed that neither precipitation gradients nor flat-field stations estimate catchment-wide snow amounts accurately.While the climatological gradient showed different trends for different areas and years, the snow stations tended to overestimate mean snow amounts.
Publication Type journal article
Record ID 65007365