Journal article

Climatic physical snowpack properties for large-scale modeling examined by observations and a physical model

Here we have conducted an integral study using site observations and a model with detailed snow dynamics, to examine the capability of the model for deriving a simple relationship between the density and thermal conductivity of the snowpack within different climatic zones used in large-scale climate modeling. Snow and meteorological observations were conducted at multiple sites in different climatic regions (two in Interior Alaska, two in Japan). A series of thermal conductivity measurements in snow pit observations done in Alaska provided useful information for constructing the relationship. The one-dimensional snow dynamics model, SNOWPACK, simulated the evolution of the snowpack and compared observations between all sites. Overall, model simulations tended to underestimate the density and overestimate the thermal conductivity, and failed to foster the relationship evident in the observations from the current and previous research. The causes for the deficiency were analyzed and discussed, regarding a low density of the new snow layer and a slow compaction rate. Our working relationships were compared to the equations derived by previous investigators. Discrepancy from the regression for the melting season observations in Alaska was found in common. © 2012 Elsevier B.V. and NIPR.


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