EGU2020-10994, updated on 04 May 2021
EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Wind effects on the spatial distribution of snow and seasonal water balance in two Mediterranean basins

Fabiola Pinto Escobar1, Pablo A. Mendoza1,2, Thomas E. Shaw2, Jesús Revuelto3, Keith Musselman4, and James McPhee1,2
Fabiola Pinto Escobar et al.
  • 1Universidad de Chile, Department of Civil Engineering, Santiago, Chile
  • 2Advanced Mining Technology Center, Santiago, Chile
  • 3Pyrenean Institute of Ecology, CSIC, Zaragoza, Spain
  • 4Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, USA

Snow water equivalent is highly heterogeneous due to the spatial distribution of precipitation, local topographic characteristics, effects of vegetation, and wind. In particular, the latter has important effects on such distribution, controlling the preferential deposition of snowfall, transport (either by saltation or suspension) on the ground, and sublimation of blowing snow. In this work, we analyze the effects of incorporating redistribution by wind transport when modeling the seasonal water balance in two experimental catchments: (i) the Izas catchment (0.33 km²), located in the Spanish Pyrenees, with an elevation range of 2000-2300 m a.s.l., and (ii) Las Bayas catchment (2.45 km²), located in the extratropical Andes Cordillera (Chile) and elevation between 3400 and 3900 m a.s.l. After assessing model simulations using time series of snow depth and terrestrial lidar scans, we examine the water balance at the annual and seasonal scales, quantifying the different fluxes that govern snow accumulation and melting with a spatially distributed model that considers the physics of transport and the sublimation of blowing snow. Moreover, we characterize the sensitivity of dominant processes to changes in precipitation and temperature. The results of this investigation have important implications on current and future research, allowing to contrast wind effects in the spatio-temporal patterns of accumulation and melting in alpine and subalpine areas, identifying those processes that will be most affected under projected climatic conditions.

How to cite: Pinto Escobar, F., Mendoza, P. A., Shaw, T. E., Revuelto, J., Musselman, K., and McPhee, J.: Wind effects on the spatial distribution of snow and seasonal water balance in two Mediterranean basins, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-10994,, 2020.