Snowpack properties modeled with #SNTHERM by EES Faculty

Coauthored by Reza Khanbilvardi of City College in Geosciences

Evaluation of the Snow Thermal Model (SNTHERM) through Continuous in situ Observations of Snow’s Physical Properties at the CREST-SAFE Field Experiment


Snowpack properties like temperature or density are the result of a complex energy and mass balance process in the snowpack that varies temporally and spatially. The Snow Thermal Model (SNTHERM) is a 1-dimensional model, energy and mass balance-driven, that simulates these properties. This article analyzes the simulated snowpack properties using SNTHERM forced with two datasets, namely measured meteorological data at the Cooperative Remote Sensing Science and Technology-Snow Analysis and Field Experiment (CREST-SAFE) site and the National Land Data Assimilation System (NLDAS). The study area is located on the premises of Caribou Municipal Airport at Caribou (ME, USA). The model evaluation is based on properties such as snow depth, snow water equivalent, and snow density, in addition to a layer-by-layer comparison of snowpack properties. The simulations were assessed with precise in situ observations collected at the CREST-SAFE site. The outputs of the SNTHERM model showed very good agreement with observed data in properties like snow depth, snow water equivalent, and average temperature. Conversely, the model was not very efficient when simulating properties like temperature and grain size in different layers of the snowpack