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Snow model comparison to simulate snow depth evolution and sublimation at point scale in the semi-arid Andes of Chile

Abstract : Physically based snow models provide valuable information on snow cover evolution and are therefore key to provide water availability projections. Yet, uncertainties related to snow modelling remain large as a result of differences in the representation of snow physics and meteorological forcing. While many studies focus on evaluating these uncertainties, no snow model comparison has been done in environments where sublimation is the main ablation process. This study evaluates a case study in the semi-arid Andes of Chile and aims to compare two snow models with different complexities, SNOWPACK and SnowModel, at a local point over one snow season and to evaluate their sensitivity relative to parameterisation and forcing. For that purpose, the two models are forced with (i) the most ideal set of input parameters, (ii) an ensemble of different physical parameterisations, and (iii) an ensemble of biased forcing. Results indicate large uncertainties depending on forcing, the snow roughness length z0, albedo parameterisation, and fresh snow density parameterisation. The uncertainty caused by the forcing is directly related to the bias chosen. Even though the models show significant differences in their physical complexity, the snow model choice is of least importance, as the sensitivity of both models to the forcing data was on the same order of magnitude and highly influenced by the precipitation uncertainties. The sublimation ratio ranges are in agreement for the two models: 36.4 % to 80.7 % for SnowModel and 36.3 % to 86.0 % for SNOWPACK, and are related to the albedo parameterisation and snow roughness length choice for the two models.
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https://hal-insu.archives-ouvertes.fr/insu-03668375
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Submitted on : Sunday, May 15, 2022 - 9:23:53 AM
Last modification on : Monday, May 16, 2022 - 8:20:31 AM

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INSU | OMP | IRD | METEO | CNRS

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Annelies Voordendag, Marion Réveillet, Shelley Macdonell, Stef Lhermitte. Snow model comparison to simulate snow depth evolution and sublimation at point scale in the semi-arid Andes of Chile. The Cryosphere, 2021, 15, pp.4241-4259. ⟨10.5194/tc-15-4241-2021⟩. ⟨insu-03668375⟩

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