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Snow water equivalent interpolation for the Colorado River Basin from snow telemetry (SNOTEL) data


Inverse weighted distance and regression nonexact techniques were evaluated for interpolating methods snow water equivalent (SWE) across the entire Colorado River Basin of the western United States. A 1-km spacing was used for the gridding of snow telemetry (SNOTEL) measurements for the years 1993, 1998, and 1999, which on average, represented higher than average, average, and lower than average snow years. Because of the terrain effects, the regression techniques (hypsometric elevation and multivariate physiographic parameter) were found to be superior to the weighted distance approaches (inverse distance weighting squared, and optimal power inverse distance weighting). A regression detrended inverse weighted distance method was developed for the hypsometric and multivariate techniques in order to preserve the point SNOTEL data. On the basis of root mean square error analysis and estimates of SWE volumes in different elevation zones for the entire basin and for subbasins the elevation detrended method with a point by point regression was found to be the most appropriate technique. Various search radii and anisotropies of the search ellipse were tested with the hypsometric method, producing only small difference in the root mean square error and SWE volumes.

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