Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2012MT272B

Student Research Fellowship: Quantifying the Sensitivity of Spring Snowmelt Timing to the Diurnal Snowmelt Cycle

Institute: Montana
Year Established: 2012 Start Date: 2012-03-01 End Date: 2013-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $1,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $420

Principal Investigators: Fred Kellner

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.