Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-2022-258
https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-2022-258
Submitted as: model description paper
16 Jan 2023
Submitted as: model description paper | 16 Jan 2023
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal GMD.

An empirical model to calculate snow depth from daily snow water equivalent: SWE2HS 1.0

Johannes Aschauer1, Adrien Michel1,2, Tobias Jonas1, and Christoph Marty1 Johannes Aschauer et al.
  • 1WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF, Davos, Switzerland
  • 2School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Lausanne, Switzerland

Abstract. Many methods exist to model snow densification in order to calculate the depth of a single snow layer or the depth of the total snow cover from its mass. Most of these densification models need to be tightly integrated with an accumulation and melt model and need many forcing variables at high temporal resolution. However, when trying to model snow depth on climatological timescales, which is often needed for winter tourism related applications, these preconditions can cause barriers. Often, for these types of applications empirical snow models are used. These can estimate snow accumulation and melt based on daily precipitation and temperature data, only. To convert the resultant snow water equivalent time series into snow depth, we developed the empirical model SWE2HS. SWE2HS has been calibrated on a data set derived from a manual observer station network in Switzerland and validated against independent data from automatic weather stations in the European Alps. The model fits the calibration data with root mean squared error (RMSE) of 8.4 cm, coefficient of determination (R2) of 0.97 and BIAS of 0.2 cm and is able to reach RMSE of 20.5 cm, R2 of 0.92 and BIAS of 2.5 cm on the validation data. The temporal evolution of the bulk density can be reproduced reasonably well on both data sets. Due to its simplicity, the model can be used as post-processing tool for output of any other snow model that provides daily snow water equivalent output. SWE2HS is available as a Python package which can be easily installed and used.

Johannes Aschauer et al.

Status: open (until 13 Mar 2023)

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Johannes Aschauer et al.

Model code and software

swe2hs Python package Johannes Aschauer https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.7228066

Johannes Aschauer et al.

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Short summary
Snow water equivalent is the mass of water stored in a snow pack. The empirical snow density model SWE2HS for transferring time series of daily snow water equivalent to snow depth based on exponential settling functions is presented. The model has been calibrated on data from Switzerland and has been tested on independent data from the European Alps. A reference implementation of SWE2HS is available as Python package.