Inhomogeneous snow distribution and depletion patterns at grid scale in a shallow snowpack region
H. Li, J. Wang, Z. Tang, and J. Wang
Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou, China
Received: 03 Sep 2012 – Accepted for review: 10 Sep 2012 – Discussion started: 01 Oct 2012
Abstract. Understanding inhomogeneous snow processes at the grid scale is crucial for distributed snow hydrology research. Many studies on inhomogeneous snow processes focus on the annual similarity of snow distribution and depletion and the roles of topography and other environmental conditions. In contrast, this study examines the snow distribution and depletion patterns at a small grid scale in a shallow snowpack region and analyzes how meteorological factors influence these patterns by using the SNOWPACK model for scenario simulations. These simulations enable quantification of the role of three main meteorological factors: shortwave radiation, longwave radiation, and air temperature. The study region is located in the Northeastern Qinghai-Tibet plateau. The results of the study indicate the following two points. (1) During different snowmelt periods, spatial similarity exists between the periodical cumulative snow distributions, and the relationships between snow cover fraction and mean snow water equivalent are similar. However, this similarity is not applicable to the period before snowmelt. (2) Shortwave radiation has a~major impact on the snow distribution and depletion patterns at the small grid scale. Increasing shortwave radiation can greatly promote the heterogeneity of the snow distribution. The contributions of longwave radiation and air temperature to the heterogeneity of snow distribution are minor. Moreover, there are similarities between the simulated snow distributions when considering the scenarios of increases in longwave radiation or in air temperature.
Li, H., Wang, J., Tang, Z., and Wang, J.: Inhomogeneous snow distribution and depletion patterns at grid scale in a shallow snowpack region, The Cryosphere Discuss., 6, 4171-4203, doi:10.5194/tcd-6-4171-2012, 2012.