Item: Topographic influence on the spatial patterns of snow temperature gradients in a mountain snowpack
Title: Topographic influence on the spatial patterns of snow temperature gradients in a mountain snowpack
Proceedings: 2002 International Snow Science Workshop, Penticton, British Columbia
Authors: J. S. Deems, K. W. Birkeland, K. J. Hansen, Department of Earth Sciences, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT U.S. Forest Service National Avalanche Center
Abstract: The objective of this study was to investigate the importance of topography in controlling the geographic patterns of deep snow temperature gradients within a seasonal snowpack. Demonstration of the relative importance of topography in influencing spatial snowpack temperature gradients could aid future modeling of snow layer development and behavior, with benefits for avalanche and snowmelt modeling. This spatial, or geographic, analysis of the relationship of snow temperature gradient patterns to topography utilizes landscape-scale modeling in an attempt to identify responses in complex, mountainous terrain. During the snow season of 2001-2002, 30 temperature profiles were sampled on each of nine sample days. Profiles were collected through the use of a portable snow temperature profile probe (Deems, 2001). These data were used to calculate temperature gradients for each profile. Topographic attributes were derived from a digital elevation model (DEM) using a Geographic Information System (GIS). Linear regression models quantified the relationships between the topographic variables and snow temperature gradient patterns in our spatially distributed dataset, and demonstrate the relative importance of the terrain variables in determining spatial patterns of temperature gradients. Analysis shows a complex pattern of relationships between temperature gradients and the static topographic variables. A qualitative assessment of weather variables recorded onsite suggests the utility of using more dynamic variables such as weather data in future research.
Keywords: spatial variation, temperature gradients, topography, regression, geographic information systems (gis)
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