IAHS-AISH Scientific Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

GMS-SNOWMED: Linking scientific knowledge with society in an open global monitoring system of snow hydrology in Sierra Nevada (Spain)

María José Polo, Javier Herrero, Eva Contreras, Rafael Pimentel, Cristina Aguilar, and Elena Herrera
María José Polo et al.
  • University of Cordoba, Andalusian Institute for Earth System Research, Cordoba, Spain (mjpolo@uco.es)

Weather data are one of the most consumed daily information by society. In mountain areas in Mediterranean basins, besides the general interest, the occurrence and persistence of snow constitute a key issue for water management, since different accumulation-ablation cycles during the cold season largely influence the fluvial regime with strong differences on an annual basis.

The Global Monitoring System SNOWMED in Sierra Nevada is a web-based service that provides the general public with free quasi-real time snow-related information. Based on the distributed physically-based snow model, SNOWMED, a high resolution multiscale scheme developed to solve the energy and water balance equations in the snowpack in Mediterranean mountain areas, the GMS communicates with the weather network and updates the simulation by SNOWMED on a daily basis, and retrieves selected information from the observations and results that is presented in a readable and straightforward format. Besides static information on the location and characteristics of the network, the model, and the research work that feeds the service, the target variables provided are

  • Daily values of weather variables (tables, and last 10-day graphical display) and statistics (on-going month and hydrological year)
  • Access to real-time images by web cameras
  • Current water volume in the snowpack in contributing areas to selected control points, and over the whole area of Sierra Nevada (table) and SWE distribution (graph from 30x30 m simulated maps)
  • Snowmelt cumulative volume (last 24 hours) from the contributing areas to selected control points in the river network, and aggregated over the whole area of Sierra Nevada, and distributed snowmelt daily (last 24 hours) fluxes (graph from 30x30 m simulated maps)

Since 2017, beyond the increasing number of visitors, the Water Authorities in this area regularly use the information as an early-predictor of weekly inflows to reservoirs and the recession periods after peak accumulations of snow, and report situations when simulations do not adequately match the observed flows. GMS-SNOWMED has proven to be an efficient tool not only to share the research work carried out in this area with citizens, but also to foster two-way transfer of knowledge, in a clear example of open-science for society.

How to cite: Polo, M. J., Herrero, J., Contreras, E., Pimentel, R., Aguilar, C., and Herrera, E.: GMS-SNOWMED: Linking scientific knowledge with society in an open global monitoring system of snow hydrology in Sierra Nevada (Spain), IAHS-AISH Scientific Assembly 2022, Montpellier, France, 29 May–3 Jun 2022, IAHS2022-605, https://doi.org/10.5194/iahs2022-605, 2022.