Approaches for operational forecasting of short-to-medium range streamflow for snowmelt dominated basins


Harshburger, Brian.. (2009). Approaches for operational forecasting of short-to-medium range streamflow for snowmelt dominated basins. Theses and Dissertations Collection, University of Idaho Library Digital Collections.

Approaches for operational forecasting of short-to-medium range streamflow for snowmelt dominated basins
Harshburger, Brian.
Because of the crucial role snowmelt plays in watersheds around the world, it is important to be able to accurately monitor the snowpack in mountainous areas, as well as produce accurate streamflow forecasts. The main objective of this study is to develop methods to assist in the operational management of water resources in mountainous areas. This is accomplished through the development of new methodologies for generating short-to-medium range (1 to 15 days) deterministic and ensemble streamflow forecasts using an enhanced version of the Snowmelt Runoff Model (SRM). Two enhancements were made to SRM to aid in its operational implementation, including: (1) the use of an antecedent temperature index method to track snowpack cold-content and account for the delay in melt associated with diurnal refreezing, and (2) the use of both maximum and minimum critical temperatures to partition precipitation into rain, snow, or a mixture of rain and snow. The comparison of retrospective model simulations with observed streamflow indicated that the enhancements result in an improvement to model performance. Deterministic streamflow forecasts generated using the model were found to compare well with the observed streamflow at leadtimes up to about 7 days, however there was still some predictability at longer leadtimes. Ensemble forecast were comparable to those found in other studies and were found to improve upon the deterministic forecasts. In addition, ensemble streamflow forecasts are advantageous because they provide the user with information regarding how likely a forecast is to be correct.;In addition to streamflow forecasts, a methodology was developed for the generation of gridded estimates of Snow Water equivalency (SWE) using operationally available surface and remote sensing data. Although the methodology employed in this study is rather simple, and relies solely on regression techniques, the results were encouraging and compare well with those found in other studies, which often utilized more sophisticated spatial interpolation methods. Thus, there is a high potential for this methodology to be applied operationally to mountainous basins around the world.;KEYWORDS: Snow Hydrology; Water Supply; Surface Water Hydrology; Quantitative Modeling; Ensemble Streamflow Forecasting; Snow Water Equivalency; Multivariate Regression; Snow-covered Area; Spatial Distribution.
Thesis (Ph. D., Geography)--University of Idaho, December 2009.
Major Professor:
Karen S. Humes and Von P. Walden.
Defense Date:
December 2009.
Format Original:
xiii, 143 leaves :ill., maps ;29 cm.

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