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Title: Quantifying the Role of Snowmelt in Stream Discharge in an Alaskan Watershed: An Analysis Using a Spatially Distributed Surface Hydrology Model

Abstract

Here, this study uses a spatially distributed surface hydrology model to investigate the role of snowmelt in stream discharge for the Tanana Flats Basin in interior Alaska. The Parameter ESTimation code is used to calibrate the model with observed stream discharge data. The model was further evaluated using remote sensing-based snow cover product and in situ snowpack water equivalent (SWE) observations. A 36 year (1980–2015) U.S. Geological Survey Precipitation-Runoff Modeling System simulation shows (1) the monthly stream discharge from the Tanana Flats Basin in April decreased by 44%; (2) snow cover area at high altitudes (above 2000 m) decreased in summer, both SWE and snowmelt also decreased significantly, especially in spring; (3) the timings of snowmelt onset and ending shifted by 2 (earlier) and 5 (later) days per decade, respectively; and (4) snowmelt accounts for 40% of the annual stream discharge. This study provides a quantitative tool to investigating hydrological systems considering the impacts of snow dynamics in cold regions. Additionally, this study suggests that future warming will further decrease snow coverage, advance snow melting time, and hereafter change the stream discharge dynamics in the Arctic.

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1]
  1. Purdue Univ., West Lafayette, IN (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Purdue Univ., West Lafayette, IN (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1512958
Grant/Contract Number:  
FG02-08ER64599
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Geophysical Research. Earth Surface
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 122; Journal Issue: 11; Journal ID: ISSN 2169-9003
Publisher:
American Geophysical Union
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
58 GEOSCIENCES; snow hydrology; stream discharge; surface hydrology

Citation Formats

Liao, Chang, and Zhuang, Qianlai. Quantifying the Role of Snowmelt in Stream Discharge in an Alaskan Watershed: An Analysis Using a Spatially Distributed Surface Hydrology Model. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1002/2017jf004214.
Liao, Chang, & Zhuang, Qianlai. Quantifying the Role of Snowmelt in Stream Discharge in an Alaskan Watershed: An Analysis Using a Spatially Distributed Surface Hydrology Model. United States. doi:10.1002/2017jf004214.
Liao, Chang, and Zhuang, Qianlai. Wed . "Quantifying the Role of Snowmelt in Stream Discharge in an Alaskan Watershed: An Analysis Using a Spatially Distributed Surface Hydrology Model". United States. doi:10.1002/2017jf004214. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1512958.
@article{osti_1512958,
title = {Quantifying the Role of Snowmelt in Stream Discharge in an Alaskan Watershed: An Analysis Using a Spatially Distributed Surface Hydrology Model},
author = {Liao, Chang and Zhuang, Qianlai},
abstractNote = {Here, this study uses a spatially distributed surface hydrology model to investigate the role of snowmelt in stream discharge for the Tanana Flats Basin in interior Alaska. The Parameter ESTimation code is used to calibrate the model with observed stream discharge data. The model was further evaluated using remote sensing-based snow cover product and in situ snowpack water equivalent (SWE) observations. A 36 year (1980–2015) U.S. Geological Survey Precipitation-Runoff Modeling System simulation shows (1) the monthly stream discharge from the Tanana Flats Basin in April decreased by 44%; (2) snow cover area at high altitudes (above 2000 m) decreased in summer, both SWE and snowmelt also decreased significantly, especially in spring; (3) the timings of snowmelt onset and ending shifted by 2 (earlier) and 5 (later) days per decade, respectively; and (4) snowmelt accounts for 40% of the annual stream discharge. This study provides a quantitative tool to investigating hydrological systems considering the impacts of snow dynamics in cold regions. Additionally, this study suggests that future warming will further decrease snow coverage, advance snow melting time, and hereafter change the stream discharge dynamics in the Arctic.},
doi = {10.1002/2017jf004214},
journal = {Journal of Geophysical Research. Earth Surface},
number = 11,
volume = 122,
place = {United States},
year = {2017},
month = {10}
}

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