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  • Author or Editor: John W. Pomeroy x
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Warren Helgason and John W. Pomeroy

Abstract

Within mountainous regions, estimating the exchange of sensible heat and water vapor between the surface and the atmosphere is an important but inexact endeavor. Measurements of the turbulence characteristics of the near-surface boundary layer in complex mountain terrain are relatively scarce, leading to considerable uncertainty in the application of flux-gradient techniques for estimating the surface turbulent heat and mass fluxes. An investigation of the near-surface boundary layer within a 7-ha snow-covered forest clearing was conducted in the Kananaskis River valley, located within the Canadian Rocky Mountains. The homogeneous measurement site was characterized as being relatively calm and sheltered; the wind exhibited considerable unsteadiness, however. Frequent wind gusts were observed to transport turbulent energy into the clearing, affecting the rate of energy transfer at the snow surface. The resulting boundary layer within the clearing exhibited perturbations introduced by the surrounding topography and land surface discontinuities. The measured momentum flux did not scale with the local aerodynamic roughness and mean wind speed profile, but rather was reflective of the larger-scale topographical disturbances. The intermittent nature of the flux-generating processes was evident in the turbulence spectra and cospectra where the peak energy was shifted to lower frequencies as compared with those observed in more homogeneous flat terrain. The contribution of intermittent events was studied using quadrant analysis, which revealed that 50% of the sensible and latent heat fluxes was contributed from motions that occupied less than 6% of the time. These results highlight the need for caution while estimating the turbulent heat and mass fluxes in mountain regions.

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Long Li and John W. Pomeroy

Abstract

The threshold wind speed for snow transport is related to properties of the surface snowpack: snow particle bonding, cohesion, and kinetic friction. These properties are controlled by meteorological factors. A method is proposed that relates the threshold wind speed for the initiation of snow transport to standard surface meteorological observations. A complete dataset on the hourly threshold condition for snow transport as determined from visual observation was developed for 16 stations on the prairies of western Canada over six winters. The threshold wind speeds for wet snow transport are significantly different from those for dry snow transport. The majority of recorded threshold 10-m wind speeds ranged from 7 to 14 m s−1 with an average of 9.9 m s−1 for wet snow transport, and from 4 to 11 m s−1 with an average of 7.7 m s−1 for dry snow transport. The observations display a nonlinear but generally positive correlation between threshold wind speed and air temperature. An empirical model between threshold wind speed and air temperature was developed for dry snow conditions. The model, on average, provides a good estimate of the threshold wind speed.

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Chandra Rupa Rajulapati, Simon Michael Papalexiou, Martyn P. Clark, and John W. Pomeroy

Abstract

Gridded precipitation datasets are used in many applications such as the analysis of climate variability/change and hydrological modeling. Regridding precipitation datasets is common for model coupling (e.g., coupling atmospheric and hydrological models) or comparing different models and datasets. However, regridding can considerably alter precipitation statistics. In this global analysis, the effects of regridding a precipitation dataset are emphasized using three regridding methods (first-order conservative, bilinear, and distance-weighted averaging). The differences between the original and regridded dataset are substantial and greatest at high quantiles. Differences of 46 and 0.13 mm are noted in high (0.95) and low (0.05) quantiles, respectively. The impacts of regridding vary spatially for land and oceanic regions; there are substantial differences at high quantiles in tropical land regions, and at low quantiles in polar regions. These impacts are approximately the same for different regridding methods. The differences increase with the size of the grid at higher quantiles and vice versa for low quantiles. As the grid resolution increases, the difference between original and regridded data declines, yet the shift size dominates for high quantiles for which the differences are higher. While regridding is often necessary to use gridded precipitation datasets, it should be used with great caution for fine resolutions (e.g., daily and subdaily), because it can severely alter the statistical properties of precipitation, specifically at high and low quantiles.

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