Changes in seasonal snow liquid water content during the snowmelt period in the Western Tianshan Mountains, China
H. Lu1,2, W. S. Wei3, M. Z. Liu1,4, X. Han3, and W. Hong1,21Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Urumqi 830011, China 2University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China 3Institute of Desert Meteorology, CMA, Urumqi 830002, China 4Tianshan Station for snow & Avalanche Research, Urumqi 830011, China
Received: 10 Aug 2012 – Accepted for review: 10 Sep 2012 – Discussion started: 27 Sep 2012
Abstract. Snow liquid water content is a very important parameter for snow hydrological processes, avalanche research and snow cover mapping by remote sensing. Snow liquid water content was measured with a portable instrument (Snow Fork) in the Tianshan Station for Snow Cover and Avalanche Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences during the snowmelt period in spring 2010. This study analyzed the temporal and spatial distribution of snow liquid water content in different weather conditions. The average liquid water content of snow in the whole layer exponentially increased and can be calculated using a regression function of prior moving average temperature. The proportion of net radiation, sensible heat flux and latent heat flux in total energy changed in different snowmelt period. During the pre-snowmelt period (0.3% ≤ Wvol < 1%), snow liquid water content and its temporal variation were relatively small, with liquid water accumulated in the coarse snow layer. During the mid-snowmelt period (1% ≤ Wvol < 2.5%), the variation was significant in the upper layer and decreased drastically during the snowfall and the following one to two days. Only the temporal variation decreased after rain or snow (ROS) events. During the late-snowmelt period (Wvol ≥ 2.5%), the distribution and variation of every snow layer showed a~uniform trend, and the effect of ROS events on liquid water content only occurred during rainfall and snowfall.
Lu, H., Wei, W. S., Liu, M. Z., Han, X., and Hong, W.: Changes in seasonal snow liquid water content during the snowmelt period in the Western Tianshan Mountains, China, The Cryosphere Discuss., 6, 4137-4169, doi:10.5194/tcd-6-4137-2012, 2012.