Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2018, Vol. 28 ›› Issue (2): 221-237.doi: 10.1007/s11442-018-1469-x

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

A GIS-based modeling of snow accumulation and melt processes in the Votkinsk reservoir basin

V. PYANKOV Sergey1, N. SHIKHOV Andrey1(), A. KALININ Nikolay2, M. SVIYAZOV Eugene2   

  1. 1. Department of Cartography and Geoinformatics, Perm State University, 15 Bukireva Street, 614990 Perm, Russia
    2. Department of Meteorology and Atmosphere Protection, Perm State University, 15 Bukireva Street, 614990 Perm, Russia
  • Received:2016-10-11 Accepted:2017-02-24 Online:2018-02-10 Published:2018-02-10
  • About author:

    Author: Andrey N. Shikhov, Associate Professor, E-mail: Russia

  • Supported by:
    RFBR project 14-05-00317-a


Coupled hydrological and atmospheric modeling is an efficient method for snowmelt runoff forecast in large basins. We use short-range precipitation forecasts of mesoscale atmospheric Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model combining them with ground-based and satellite observations for modeling snow accumulation and snowmelt processes in the Votkinsk reservoir basin (184,319 km2). The method is tested during three winter seasons (2012-2015). The MODIS-based vegetation map and leaf area index data are used to calculate the snowmelt intensity and snow evaporation in the studied basin. The GIS-based snow accumulation and snowmelt modeling provides a reliable and highly detailed spatial distribution for snow water equivalent (SWE) and snow-covered areas (SCA). The modelling results are validated by comparing actual and estimated SWE and SCA data. The actual SCA results are derived from MODIS satellite data. The algorithm for assessing the SCA by MODIS data (ATBD-MOD 10) has been adapted to a forest zone. In general, the proposed method provides satisfactory results for maximum SWE calculations. The calculation accuracy is slightly degraded during snowmelt periods. The SCA data is simulated with a higher reliability than the SWE data. The differences between the simulated and actual SWE may be explained by the overestimation of the WRF-simulated total precipitation and the unrepresentativeness of the SWE measurements (snow survey).

Key words: snow accumulation and snowmelt processes, snow water equivalent, GIS-based modeling, WRF-ARW model