skip to main content


The NSF Public Access Repository (NSF-PAR) system and access will be unavailable from 10:00 PM ET on Friday, December 8 until 2:00 AM ET on Saturday, December 9 due to maintenance. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Title: Evaluating Multiple Canopy‐Snow Unloading Parameterizations in SUMMA With Time‐Lapse Photography Characterized by Citizen Scientists

Canopy‐snow unloading is the complex physical process of snow unloading from the canopy through meltwater drip, sublimation to the atmosphere, or solid snow unloading to the snowpack below. This process is difficult to parameterize due to limited observations. Time‐lapse photographs of snow in the canopy were characterized by citizen scientists to create a data set of snow interception observations at multiple locations across the western United States. This novel interception data set was used to evaluate three snow unloading parameterizations in the Structure for Unifying Multiple Modeling Alternatives (SUMMA) modular hydrologic modeling framework. SUMMA was modified to include a third snow unloading parameterization, termed Wind‐Temperature (Roesch et al., 2001,, which includes wind‐dependent and temperature‐dependent unloading functions. It was compared to a meltwater drip unloading parameterization, termed Melt (Andreadis et al., 2009,, and a time‐dependent unloading parameterization, termed Exponential‐Decay (Hedstrom & Pomeroy, 1998,<1611::AID-HYP684>3.0.CO;2-4). Wind‐Temperature performed well without calibration across sites, specifically in cold climates, where wind dominates unloading and rime accretion is low. At rime prone sites, Wind‐Temperature should be calibrated to account for longer interception events with less sensitivity to wind, otherwise Melt can be used without calibration. The absence of model physics in Exponential‐Decay requires local calibration that can only be transferred to sites with similar unloading patterns. The choice of unloading parameterization can result in 20% difference in SWE on the ground below the canopy and 10% difference in estimated average winter canopy albedo. These novel observations shed light on processes that are often overlooked in hydrology.

more » « less
Author(s) / Creator(s):
 ;  ;  ;  ;  
Publisher / Repository:
DOI PREFIX: 10.1029
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Water Resources Research
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    A very high spatial resolution (25 m pixel at 90 km altitude) OH airglow imager was installed at the Andes Lidar Observatory on Cerro Pachón, Chile, in February 2016. This instrument was collocated with a Na wind‐temperature lidar. On 1 March 2016, the lidar data showed that the atmosphere was dynamically unstable before 0100 UT and thus conducive to the formation of Kelvin‐Helmholtz instabilities (KHIs). The imager revealed the presence of a KHI and an apparent atmospheric gravity wave (AGW) propagating approximately perpendicular to the plane of primary KHI motions. The AGW appears to have induced modulations of the shear layer leading to misalignments of the emerging KHI billows. These enabled strong KHI billow interactions, as they achieved large amplitudes and a rapid transition to turbulence thereafter. The interactions manifested themselves as vortex tube and knot features that were earlier identified in laboratory studies, as discussed in Thorpe (1987,; 2002, and inferred to be widespread in the atmosphere based on features seen in tropospheric clouds but which have never been identified in previous upper atmospheric observations. This study presents the first high‐resolution airglow imaging observation of these KHI interaction dynamics that drive rapid transitions to turbulence and suggest the potential importance of these dynamics in the mesosphere and at other altitudes. A companion paper (Fritts et al., 2020, modeling these dynamics confirms that the vortex tubes and knots yield more rapid and significantly enhanced turbulence relative to the internal instabilities of individual KHI billows.

    more » « less
  2. Abstract

    We present modeling results of tube and knot (T&K) dynamics accompanying thermospheric Kelvin Helmholtz Instabilities (KHI) in an event captured by the 2018 Super Soaker campaign (R. L. Mesquita et al., 2020, Chemical tracers released by a rocketsonde on 26 January 2018 showed coherent KHI in the lower thermosphere that rapidly deteriorated within 45–90 s. Using wind and temperature data from the event, we conducted high resolution direct numerical simulations (DNS) employing both wide and narrow spanwise domains to facilitate (wide domain case) and prohibit (narrow domain case) the axial deformation of KH billows that allows tubes and knots to form. KHI T&K dynamics are shown to produce accelerated instability evolution consistent with the observations, achieving peak dissipation rates nearly two times larger and 1.8 buoyancy periods faster than axially uniform KHI generated by the same initial conditions. Rapidly evolving twist waves are revealed to drive the transition to turbulence; their evolution precludes the formation of secondary convective instabilities and secondary KHI seen to dominate the turbulence evolution in artificially constrained laboratory and simulation environments. T&K dynamics extract more kinetic energy from the background environment and yield greater irreversible energy exchange and entropy production, yet they do so with weaker mixing efficiency due to greater energy dissipation. The results suggest that enhanced mixing from thermospheric KHI T&K events could account for the discrepancy between modeled and observed mixing in the lower thermosphere (Garcia et al., 2014,; Liu, 2021, and merits further study.

    more » « less
  3. Abstract

    The method to derive aerosol size distributions from in situ stratospheric measurements from the University of Wyoming is modified to include an explicit counting efficiency function (CEF) to describe the channel‐dependent instrument counting efficiency. This is motivated by Kovilakam and Deshler's (2015, discovery of an error in the calibration method applied to the optical particle counter (OPC40) developed in the late 1980s and used from 1991 to 2012. The method can be applied to other optical aerosol instruments for which counting efficiencies have been measured. The CEF employed is the integral of the Gaussian distribution representing the instrument response at any one aerosol channel, the aerosol counting efficiency. Results using the CEF are compared to previous derivations of aerosol size distributions (Deshler et al., 2003, applied to the measurements before and after Kovilakam and Deshler's correction of number concentration for the OPC40 calibration error. The CEF method is found, without any tuning parameter, to reproduce or improve upon the Kovilakam and Deshler's results, thus accounting for the calibration error without any external comparisons other than the laboratory determined counting efficiency at each aerosol channel. Moments of the new aerosol size distributions compare well with aerosol extinctions measured by Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment II and Halogen Occultation Experiment in the volcanic period 1991–1996, generally within ±40%, the precision of OPC40 moments, and in the nonvolcanic period after 1996, generally within ±20%. Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment II and Halogen Occultation Experiment estimates of aerosol surface area are generally in agreement with those derived using the new CEF method.

    more » « less
  4. Abstract

    Recent work has indicated the presence of a nitric oxide (NO) product channel in the reaction between the higher vibrational levels of the first electronically excited state of molecular nitrogen, N2(A), and atomic oxygen. A steady‐state model for the N2(A) vibrational distribution in the terrestrial thermosphere is here described and validated by comparison with N2A‐X, Vegard‐Kaplan dayglow spectra from the Ionospheric Spectroscopy and Atmospheric Chemistry spectrograph. A computationally cheaper method is needed for implementation of the N2(A) chemistry into time‐dependent thermospheric models. It is shown that by scaling the photoelectron impact production of ionized N2by a Gaussian centered near 100 km, the level‐specific N2(A) production rates between 100 and 200 km can be reproduced to within an average of 5%. This scaling, and thus the N2electron impact ionization/excitation ratio, is nearly independent of existing uncertainties in the 2–20 nm solar soft X‐ray irradiance. To investigate this independence, the N2electron‐impact excitation cross sections in the GLOW photoelectron model are replaced with the results of Johnson et al. (2005, and the multipart work of Malone et al. (2009 (Malone, Johnson, Young, et al., 2009,; Malone, Johnson, Kanik, et al., 2009,; Malone et al., 2009,, together denotedJ05M09. Upon updating these cross sections it is found that (1) the total N2triplet excitation rate remains nearly constant; (2) the steady state N2(A) vibrational distribution is shifted to higher levels; (3) the total N2singlet excitation rate responsible for the Lyman‐Birge‐Hopfield emission is reduced by 33%. It is argued that adopting theJ05M09 cross sections supports (1) the larger X‐ray fluxes measured by the Student Nitric Oxide Explorer (SNOE) and (2) a temperature‐independent N2(A)+O reaction rate coefficient.

    more » « less
  5. Abstract

    Using Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) observations and combined MHD/test particle simulations, we further explore characteristic ion velocity distributions in the plasma sheet boundary layer. The observations are characterized by earthward beams, which at a slightly later time are accompanied by weaker but faster tailward beams. Two events are presented showing different histories. The first event happens at entry from the lobe into the plasma sheet. Energy‐time dispersion indicates a source region about 25 tailward of the satellite. The second event follows the passage of a dipolarization front closer to Earth. In contrast to earlier MHD simulations, but in better qualitative agreement with the first observation, reconnection in the present simulation was initiated near. Simulated distributions right at the boundary are characterized by a single crescent‐shaped earthward beam, as discussed earlier (Birn, Hesse, et al., 2015, Farther inside, or at a later time, the distributions now also show a simple reflected beam, evolving toward a more ring‐like distribution. The simulations provide insight into the acceleration sites: The innermost edges of the direct and reflected beams consist of ions accelerated in the vicinity of the reconnection site. This supports the validity of estimating the acceleration location based on a time‐of‐flight analysis (after Onsager et al., 1990, However, this assumption becomes invalid at later times when the acceleration becomes dominated by the earthward propagating dipolarization electric field, such that earthward and tailward reflected beams are no longer accelerated at the same location and the same time.

    more » « less