Project Crosscut: Snow

Snow is the primary source of water for many regions and billions of people throughout the world, including the western U.S. Precipitation that falls as snow behaves uniquely in the landscape due to its ability to be stored long-term and release moisture gradually into an ecosystem. The LEAF lab seeks to understand the timing and spatial variability of snow delivery and snow cover persistence. Our projects focus on quantifying water delivery from snow to better understand how it influences important ecological and biogeochemical processes, streamflow and groundwater storage, as well as implications of changing precipitation patterns under future climate scenarios.

Capacities:

  • Through climate models such as WRF (Weather Research and Forecasting) we seek to better understand how water is delivered from the atmosphere to mountain areas in the form of snow.
  • Using the STARFM (Spatial and Temporal Adaptive Reflectance Fusion Model), we synthesize satellite imagery to reconstruct past snow cover patterns and quantify water delivery from snowpack to the subsurface in mountain areas.

Examples:

The SBR-CZ project uses the WRF and STARFM models and is funded by the Department of Energy Subsurface Biogeochemical Research Program

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