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Temporal inconsistencies in coarse-scale snow water equivalent patterns: Colorado river basin snow telemetry-topography regressions

  • Author(s): Fassnacht, SR
  • Dressler, KA
  • Hultstrand, DM
  • Bales, RC
  • Patterson, G
  • et al.
Abstract

The relation between snow water equivalent (SWE) and 28 variables (27 topographically-based topographic variables and canopy density) for the Colorado River Basin, USA was explored through a multi-variate regression. These variables include location, slope and aspect at different scales, derived variables to indicate the distance to sources of moisture and proximity to and characteristics of obstacles between these moisture sources and areas of snow accumulation, and canopy density. A weekly time step of snow telemetry (SNOTEL) SWE data from 1990 through 1999 was used. The most important variables were elevation and regional scale (81 km2) slope. Since the seasonal and inter-annual variability is high, a regression relationship should be formulated for each time step. The inter-annual variation in the relation between SWE and topographic variables partially corresponded with the amount of snow accumulated over the season and the El Niño Southern Oscillation cycle.

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