Evaluation of distributed hydrologic impacts of temperature-index and energy-based snow models

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Two commonly used strategies in modeling snowmelt are the energy balance and temperature-index methods. Here we evaluate the distributed hydrologic impacts of these two different snowmelt modeling strategies, each in conjunction with a physics-based hydrologic model (PIHM). Results illustrate that both the Isnobal energy-balance and calibrated temperature-index methods adequately reproduce snow depletion at the observation site. However, the models exhibit marked differences in the distribution of snowmelt. When combined with PIHM, both models capture streamflow reasonably during calibration year (WY06), but Isnobal model gives better streamflow results in the validation year (WY07). The uncalibrated temperature-index model predicts streamflow poorly in both years. Differences between distributed snowmelt, as predicted by Isnobal and calibrated temperature-index method, and its consequent effect on predicted hydrologic states suggest the need to carefully calibrate temperature-index models in both time and space. Combined physics-based snow and hydrologic models provide the best accuracy, while a temperature-index model using coefficients from the literature the poorest. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Kumar, M; Marks, D; Dozier, J; Reba, M; Winstral, A

Published Date

  • June 1, 2013

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 56 /

Start / End Page

  • 77 - 89

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0309-1708

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.advwatres.2013.03.006

Citation Source

  • Scopus