HPCCprojects:New approaches to address scaling issues for lateral flow of water in a layered snowpack
New approaches to address scaling issues for lateral flow of water in a layered snowpack
The goals of this proposed study are to better understand the lateral flow of water within a snowpack. I seek new knowledge on the formation and scales at which capillary and/or permeability barriers occur in snow, and the applicability of laboratory scale parameters as input for modeling. Better understanding of these processes and methods will improve knowledge of key hydrologic controls and dynamics of snow dominated systems. This research will occur at multiple sites across elevational gradients (Boulder Creek CZO and Niwot Ridge LTER) using state of the science Global Positioning Systems and Ground Penetrating Radar methods for non destructive measurements of liquid water content in snow, dye tracer experiments for larger scale flow path development investigations, laboratory experiments for isolation of the effect of slope, and inverse modeling for upscaling previously developed laboratory scale parameters. My mentors for this fellowship are Dr. Noah Molotch and Dr. Mark Williams at the proposed host Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research at the University of Colorado in Boulder as well as Dr. Stefan Finsterle in the Energy Geosciences Division at the second proposed host institute, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
The objectives of my Postdoctoral Fellowship are to:
- determine the variability in grain size and density between adjacent snowpack layers required to produce significant lateral flow at the hillslope scale
- determine the driving physical (topographic, land cover, etc.) and climatic conditions required to produce these barriers
- produce a two-dimensional numerical model capable of simulating layered porous media with temporally varying properties
- determine how suitable laboratory scale investigations of snow properties are for applications at the hillslope scale.
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