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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2019-150
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2019-150
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 16 Jul 2019

Submitted as: research article | 16 Jul 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal The Cryosphere (TC).

Validation of modeled snow properties in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Tajikistan

Edward H. Bair1, Karl Rittger2, Jawairia A. Ahmad3, and Doug Chabot4 Edward H. Bair et al.
  • 1Earth Research Institute, University of California, Santa Barbara, California, USA
  • 2Institute for Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, USA
  • 3Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA
  • 4independent researcher, Bozeman, MT, USA

Abstract. Ice and snowmelt feed the Indus and Amu Darya rivers, yet there are limited in situ measurements of these resources. Previous work in the region has shown promise using snow water equivalent (SWE) reconstruction, which requires no in situ measurements, but validation has been a problem until recently when we were provided with daily manual snow depth measurements from Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and Pakistan by the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH). For each station, accumulated precipitation and SWE were derived from snow depth using the SNOWPACK model. High-resolution (500 m) reconstructed SWE estimates from the ParBal model were then compared to the modeled SWE at the stations. The Alpine3D model was then used to create spatial estimates at 25 km to compare with estimates from other snow models. Additionally, the coupled SNOWPACK and Alpine3D system has the advantage of simulating snow profiles, which provide stability information. Following previous work, the median number of critical layers and percentage of facets across all of the pixels containing the AKAH stations was computed. For SWE at the point scale, the reconstructed estimates showed a bias of −42 mm (−19 %) at the peak. For the coarser spatial SWE estimates, the various models showed a wide range, with reconstruction being on the lower end. For stratigraphy, a heavily faceted snowpack is observed in both years, but 2018, a dry year, according to most of the models, showed more critical layers that persisted for a longer period.

Edward H. Bair et al.
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Short summary
Ice and snowmelt feed the Indus and Amu Darya rivers, but validation of estimates from satellites sensors has been a problem until recently when we were given daily snow depth measurements from these basins. Using these measurements, estimates of snow on the ground were created and compared with models. Estimates of water equivalent in the snowpack were mostly in agreement. Stratigraphy was also modeled and showed one year with a relatively stable snowpack, but another with multiple weak layers.
Ice and snowmelt feed the Indus and Amu Darya rivers, but validation of estimates from...
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