WR474 Snow Hydrology

The focus of this course is to examine snow processes and to relate the processes to the hydrologic cycle. Physical and conceptual methods of modelling the processes will be addressed. Techniques for measuring the different states and change rates will be discussed.

course assignments - will be circulated.
For the assignments in this course, the student will compute the water and energy balance for accumulating a snowpack at one station (NCDC ASOS site). This is done through a series of assignments. The first submission is the dataset selection where the basic NCDC dataset will be summarized in monthly plots. For the last assignment, the accumulated snowpack will be melted and considering NRCS SNOTEL data (for spatial distribution), this modelled snowmelt will be calibrated and compared to snowmelt runoff observed at a USGS (or similar) gauging station. The last submission (synthesis) is a written analysis of the watershed and the assignments. As it will be a culmination of the assignment work, there should be a thorough discussion of the results and implications. While some of the calculations performed for the assignments cannot be validated, i.e., direct measurements do not exist, the last assignment will discuss the appropriateness of the computed numbers. It will summarize the assignments and discuss how realistic the calculated numbers are. A discussion at the end of the semester will compare results from the different locations.

Point Data:
NOAA NWS National Climate Data Center - Quality Controlled Local Climatological Data since Jan 1, 2005
     - select a state that you know has an area that receives "significant" snowfall
     - select a station
     - examine (is the station at elevation?) and download the detailed station description
     - examine the station/data documentation
     - download monthly data files from the Water Year you are using (October of the previous year through September of the water year)
         - the ASCII downloads (import as CSV files or copy and paste)
     - there are extra observations, in MS EXCEL use the =right(cell number, 2) statement and then sort by the minute
     - convert to SI

USGS Daily Streamflow Data for the Nation
     - select a gauging station near the meteorological station
     - examining the station description, try to have a small watershed
     - download the daily streamflow for the water year of interest
     - convert to SI

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service - Water and Climate Center SNOTEL Data & Products
     - select the state corresponding to your watershed
     - select a nearby station
     - download the annual data files for the Water Year of interest
     - convert to SI

Spatial data:
USGS The National Map Viewer
NRCS Geospatial Data gateway

field exercise (Saturday in December before the last week of classes from 08:00-16:00MST)
water cycle phase balance

ESS-Watershed Science
Warner College of Natural Resources
Colorado State University