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Evaluating the Swiss SNOWPACK modeling system across the Northern Rocky Mountains

November 9, 2017
Chris Gibson

Since late 2015, a one dimensional model of snow pack structure, know as SNOWPACK, has been evaluated by the National Weather Service at Missoula, in collaboration with Montana State University. The model is driven by point-based output from a high-resolution numerical model (WRF-ARW).Hourly forecasts of incoming radiation, temperature, precipitation, etc., drive the SNOWPACK model, which simulates snow accumulation, structure of the snow pack and melting processes.Designed to assist with avalanche hazard evaluation and forecasting, the SNOWPACK model allows the meteorologists within the NWS to evaluate the impact of storm cycles, cold and clear periods, rainfall, etc., on snow pack structure.By simulating the snow pack near remote SNOTEL gauges, accuracy can be somewhat verified with observed snow depth readings, as well as occasional snow pits and avalanche center evaluations.WRF and SNOWPACK simulations and verification will be presented, for points across western Montana, for two winter seasons.

This webinar was presented as part of the RMRS Fire Sciences Laboratory's weekly seminar series for 2017-2018.

Fire Behavior
Fire Communication & Education
Public Perspectives of Fire Management
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