Snow Melt Dynamics and Properties

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date


Faculty Sponsor

HP Marshall


Over one billion people depend on snowmelt every year for water supply, yet snow distribution data is limited. Understanding snow properties and melt dynamics can help hydrologists determine the timing of snow melt and available water resources, and is also important for avalanche and hydropower forecasters. I will examine the effect slope, aspect, temperature and canopy cover have on snow melt timing and snow distribution at similar elevations throughout Boise Idaho. I will use the field observations at three local study sites. Two sites are located at Bogus Basin ski area, one with a southern facing aspect and the other with a northern facing aspect, and the third site is at a lower elevation that has a range of aspects near the Lower Deer Point weather station in the Dry Creek Experimental Watershed. I am currently measuring snow depth, density profiles, and temperature and grain size analysis at each site on a weekly basis. I have also led the installation of 4 lysimeters at the Bogus Basin Snow Study site, which in addition to the lysimeters we will be maintaining at the lower elevation Treeline site, will allow me to investigate the effects of slope as well as temperatures on snowmelt timing and dynamics. Once the field data is compiled I will build a statistical model to characterize the relationship between snow properties and aspect, slope, temperature, and canopy cover. I hypothesize that aspect, elevation, and canopy cover control snow properties and the timing of melt at our research sites.

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