Modelled sensitivity of the snow regime to topography, shrub fraction and shrub height

C. B. Menard, R. Essery, J. Pomeroy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Recent studies show that shrubs are colonizing higher latitudes and altitudes in the Arctic. Shrubs affect the wind transport, accumulation and melt of snow, but there have been few sensitivity studies of how shrub expansion might affect snowmelt rates and timing. Here, a three-source energy balance model (3SOM), which calculates vertical and horizontal energy fluxes - thus allowing within-cell advection - between the atmosphere, snow, snow-free ground and vegetation, is introduced. The three-source structure was specifically adopted to investigate shrub-tundra processes associated with patchy snow cover that single-or two-source models fail to address. The ability of the model to simulate the snow regime of an upland tundra valley is evaluated; a blowing snow transport and sublimation model is used to simulate premelt snow distributions and 3SOM is used to simulate melt. Some success at simulating turbulent fluxes in point simulations and broad spatial pattern in distributed runs is shown even if the lack of advection between cells causes melt rates to be underestimated. The models are then used to investigate the sensitivity of the snow regime in the valley to varying shrub cover and topography. Results show that, for domain average shrub fractional cover

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2375-2392
Number of pages18
JournalHydrology and Earth System Sciences
Volume18
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Keywords

  • ENVIRONMENT SIMULATOR JULES
  • ARCTIC MOUNTAIN CATCHMENT
  • BOUNDARY-LAYER GROWTH
  • BLOWING SNOW
  • SPATIAL DISTRIBUTIONS
  • COVER DEPLETION
  • ENERGY-BALANCE
  • CLIMATE MODEL
  • SOIL PATCHES
  • TUNDRA SITE

Cite this