Prediction of seasonal snow accumulation in cold climate forests

N. R. Hedstrom, D. M. Gray, J. R. Janowicz, John W. Pomeroy

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Accumulation of snow under forest canopies is known to decline with increasing canopy density and leaf area because of snow interception and sublimation in the canopy. Seasonal snow accumulation measurements, collected over a decade from various forest stands in western Canada, were used to test and develop methods to relate forest snow accumulation to stand properties and observations of either small-clearing seasonal snow accumulation or seasonal snowfall. At sub-stand scales, the variability of seasonal snow accumulation was not well related to stand leaf area, seasonal interception or small-clearing seasonal snow accumulation. At the stand scale, physically based snow interception equations predicted seasonal snow accumulation from the stand leaf area and the seasonal snow accumulation or snowfall in adjacent clearings. A simple parametric form of these equations showed the sensitivity of seasonal snow accumulation to leaf area at the forest stand scale and suggested a relationship to extrapolate snow accumulation or snowfall measurements from clearings to forests. These relationships, developed from Canadian boreal forest observations, are consistent with Kuz'min's (1960. Formirovanie Snezhnogo Pokrova i Metody Opredeleniya Snegozapasov. Gidrometeoizdat: Leningrad) relationship between accumulation and canopy density derived from Russian observations, suggesting a good degree of transferability. Copyright 2002 Crown in the right of Canada. Published by John Wiley Sons, Ltd
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3543-3558
Number of pages16
JournalHydrological Processes
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 02 Aug 2011
Event59th Eastern Snow Conference (ESC) - Vermont, United States of America
Duration: 05 Jun 200207 Jun 2002


  • snow accumulation
  • snow interception
  • snowfall
  • boreal forest
  • forest hydrology
  • water resources prediction


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