Vegetation and Topographic Control of Wind-Blown Snow Distributions in Distributed and Aggregated Simulations for an Arctic Tundra Basin

Richard Essery, John Pomeroy
2004 Journal of Hydrometeorology  
Tel : +44 (0)1970 622784 Fax : +44 (0)1970 622659 ABSTRACT A fine-scale model of blowing snow is used to simulate the characteristics of snowcover in a low-Arctic catchment with moderate topography and partial shrub cover. The influence of changing shrub characteristics is investigated by performing a sequence of simulations with varying shrub heights and coverage. Increasing shrub height gives an increase in snow depth within the shrub-covered areas, up to a limit determined by the supply of
more » ... by the supply of falling and blowing snow, but increasing shrub coverage gives a decrease in snow depths within shrubs as the supply of blowing snow imported from open areas is reduced. A simulation of snow redistribution over the existing topography without any shrub cover gives much greater accumulations of snow on slopes in the lee of the prevailing wind than on windward slopes; in contrast, shrubs are able to trap snow on both lee and windward slopes. A spatially aggregated, or tiled, model is developed in which snow is relocated by wind transport from sparsely vegetated tiles to more densely vegetated tiles. The vegetation distribution is not specified, but the simulation is parametrized using average fetch lengths along the major transport axis. The aggregated model is found to be capable of matching the average snow accumulation in shrub and open areas predicted by the distributed model reasonably well but with much less computational cost.
doi:10.1175/1525-7541(2004)005<0735:vatcow>2.0.co;2 fatcat:h637r5tkenbwjobf342j46uiwy