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Canopy effects on snow accumulation: Observations from lidar, canonical-view photos, and continuous ground measurements from sensor networks

  • Author(s): Zheng, Z;
  • Ma, Q;
  • Qian, K;
  • Bales, RC
  • et al.

A variety of canopy metrics were extracted from the snow-off airborne light detection and ranging (lidar) measurements over three study areas in the central and southern Sierra Nevada. Two of the sites, Providence andWolverton, had wireless snow-depth sensors since 2008, with the third site, Pinecrest having sensors since 2014. AtWolverton and Pinecrest, images were captured and the sky-view factors were derived from hemispherical-view photos. We found the variation of snow accumulation across the landscape to be significantly related to canopy-cover conditions. Using a regularized regression model Elastic Net to model the normalized snow accumulation with canopy metrics as independent variables, we found that about 50% of snow accumulation variability at each site can be explained by the canopy metrics from lidar.

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