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Geoscientific Model Development An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-2017-56
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Model description paper
10 Apr 2017
Review status
A revision of this discussion paper is under review for the journal Geoscientific Model Development (GMD).
Implementation of a physically based water percolation routine in the Crocus (V7) snowpack model
Christopher J. L. D'Amboise1,2, Karsten Müller1, Laurent Oxarango3, Samuel Morin4, and Thomas V. Schuler2 1Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate, Oslo, 0368, Norway
2Department of Geoscience, University of Oslo, Oslo, 0316, Norway
3Univ. Grenoble Alpes, CNRS, IRD, IGE, F-38000 Grenoble, France
4Météo-France – CNRS, CNRM UMR 3589, Centre d'Etudes de la Neige, Grenoble, France
Abstract. Abstract. We present a new water percolation routine added to the 1D snowpack model Crocus as an alternative to the empirical bucket routine. This routine is based on Richards equation, and describes flow in an unsaturated porous medium governed by capillary suction and hydraulic conductivity of snow layers. We tested the Richards routine on two data sets, one recorded from an automatic weather station over the winter of 2013–2014 at Filefjell, Norway, and a simple synthetic data set. Model results using the Richards routine generally lead to thinner and denser simulated crust layers compared to the bucket routine. Wet snow layers often reach the transition between the pendular and funicular regimes, with 17 % of snow layers obtaining saturation of > 10 % and 4.3 % of layers had saturation of > 15 % for the synthetic data set. The Richards routine had a maximum liquid water content of 167.3 kg m-3 where the bucket routine had a maximum of 42.1 kg m-3. To express the water retention curve and the hydraulic conductivity of snow layers, the Richards routine heavily relies on accurate density and grain size estimations. We found the Richards routine was sensitive to the chosen modelling time step. The time step dependency is a result of feedback between the water percolation routine and the snows compaction and metamorphism routines. We show that the new routine has been implemented in the Crocus model, but due to amplification of parameter uncertainties through a number of feedbacks, meaningful applicability is limited until new and better parameterizations of water retention is developed for different snow types.

Citation: D'Amboise, C. J. L., Müller, K., Oxarango, L., Morin, S., and Schuler, T. V.: Implementation of a physically based water percolation routine in the Crocus (V7) snowpack model, Geosci. Model Dev. Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-2017-56, in review, 2017.
Christopher J. L. D'Amboise et al.
Christopher J. L. D'Amboise et al.
Christopher J. L. D'Amboise et al.

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Short summary
We present a new water percolation routine added to the Crocus model. The new routine is physically based describing motion of water through a layered snowpack considering capillary driven and gravity flow. We tested the routine on two data sets. Wet snow layers were able to reach higher saturations than the empirical routine. Meaningful applicability is limited until new and better parameterizations of water retention are developed, and feedbacks are adjusted to handle higher saturations.
We present a new water percolation routine added to the Crocus model. The new routine is...
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