Item: An objective snow profile comparison method
Title: An objective snow profile comparison method
Proceedings: Proceedings of the 2000 International Snow Science Workshop, October 1-6, Big Sky, Montana
Authors: Michael Lehning, Charles Fierz and Chris Lundy, Swiss Federal Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research, SLF Davos and Department of Civil Engineering, Montana State University, Bozeman
Abstract: With the increasing use of numerical models predicting the snow cover status, the need for a simple and standardized evaluation procedure arises. We present such a method that compares numerical model profiles with snow pit profiles and provides a quantitative statistical agreement/disagreement measure. The method can also be used to compare several model profiles with each other. The first step of the method is the mapping of the model profile layers onto the layers of the observed profile. This mapping is necessary to adjust for deviating total snow depth and shifted positions of the layers. Following the mapping, the individual profile parameters such as grain type, grain size, liquid water content, temperature and density are compared. The result of the comparison is a score between 0 (profiles show no agreement) and 1 (profiles are identical) for each parameter. The parameter scores can be combined to give an overall profile score between 0 and 1. The method facilitates evaluation studies and allows to quantify improvements made in the modeling of processes in the snow cover. The paper explains the basic idea of the method and illustrates its application and usefulness using SNOWPACK model profiles and the corresponding snow pit observation from the Swiss Alps.
Keywords: snow pit, profile, snow cover simulation, snowpack, evaluation, grain type
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