Does Data Availability Constrain Temperature-Index Snow Models? A Case Study in a Humid Boreal Forest

Achut Parajuli, Daniel F. Nadeau, François Anctil, Oliver S. Schilling, Sylvain Jutras
2020 Water  
Temperature-index (TI) models are commonly used to simulate the volume and occurrence of meltwater in snow-fed catchments. TI models have varying levels of complexity but are all based on air temperature observations. The quality and availability of data that drive these models affect their predictive ability, particularly given that they are frequently applied in remote environments. This study investigates the performance of non-calibrated TI models in simulating the subcanopy snow water
more » ... opy snow water equivalent (SWE) of a small watershed located in Eastern Canada, for which some distinctive observations were collected. Among three relatively simple TI algorithms, the model that performed the best was selected based on the average percent bias (Pbias of 24%) and root mean square error (RMSE of 100 mm w.e.), and was designated as the base TI model. Then, a series of supplemental tests were conducted in order to quantify the performance gain that resulted from including the following inputs/processes to the base TI model: subcanopy incoming radiation, canopy interception, snow surface temperature, sublimation, and cold content. As a final test, all the above modifications were performed simultaneously. Our results reveal that, with the exception of snow sublimation (Pbias of 5.4%) and snow surface temperature, the variables mentioned above were unable to improve TI models within our sites. It is therefore worth exploring other feasible alternatives to existing TI models in complex forested environments.
doi:10.3390/w12082284 fatcat:xsqfw3ndsjdvxf2cw4tby5cocm