State Water Resources Research Institute Program

Project ID: 2012MT272B
Title: Student Research Fellowship: Quantifying the Sensitivity of Spring Snowmelt Timing to the Diurnal Snowmelt Cycle
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/01/2012
End Date: 2/28/2013
Congressional District: at large
Focus Categories: Hydrology, Climatological Processes
Keywords: snowmelt
Principal Investigator: Kellner, Fred
Federal Funds: $ 1,000
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 420
Abstract: Based on the concept that the diurnal snowmelt cycle features periods of stopped or reduced snowmelt, and this is caused by the setting sun, a component of a snowpack energy balance which does not change the following hypothesis was formed. In Lost Horse Canyon of the Bitterroot Range, Montana, the diurnal snowmelt cycle is a critical factor in controlling snowmelt timing and preventing a shift in the timing snowmelt production. The objective of this research is to test this hypothesis. To achieve this objective will require three steps;

  1. Collect in situ meteorological and snowpack data related to the energy balance of a snowpack, gathered during a period of diurnal snowmelt;
  2. Input of collected data into a numerical model the result of which is a constrained and validated modeled snowpack;
  3. Incrementally change modeled snowpack parameters associated with the diurnal snowmelt cycle to quantify how these changes affect the melt rate of the modeled snowpack.

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