Published: Dec. 6, 2018

Grad student skins near treeline on Niwot Ridge in Feb. 2019. Credit K. Jennings

T. Barnhart skins near treeline on Niwot Ridge in February 2016. Credit: K. Jennings

A key aspect of water resources management is predicting streamflow. For snow-dependent water resources, it is both critical and challenging to observe spatial distribution of liquid water in a melting snowpack.

Research recently published in Water Resources Research aimed to test a new method for estimating the spatial distribution of liquid water in a melting snowpack. The study found that combining ground-penetrating radar with terrestrial LiDAR scanning allowed them to non-destructively observe the spatial distribution of liquid water in a melting snowpack at a hillslope scale. These methods offer insights on the topographic influences of water storage within a snowpack during melt and can be used for future studies on complex hydrologic processes that impact streamflow.

Dr. Ryan Webb (former INSTAAR Affiliate now Assistant Research Professor at University of New Mexico) led the study with co-authors Dr. Keith Jennings (former Geography graduate student at INSTAAR and now postdoctoral fellow at University of Nevada Reno), Dr. Noah Molotch (CWEST Director) and Michael Fend (UNAVCO).

 

Webb, R. W., Jennings, K. S., Fend, M., & Molotch, N. P. (2018). Combining ground‐penetrating radar with terrestrial LiDAR scanning to estimate the spatial distribution of liquid water content in seasonal snowpacks. Water Resources Research, 54. https://doi.org/10.1029/2018WR022680