Journal cover Journal topic
Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
doi:10.5194/hess-2016-612
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
12 Dec 2016
Review status
A revision of this discussion paper is under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).
Rainwater propagation through snow pack during rain-on-snow events under different snow condition
Roman Juras1,2, Sebastian Würzer2, Jirka Pavlásek1, Tomáš Vitvar1,3, and Tobias Jonas2 1Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Kamýcká 129, 165 21, Prague, Czech Republic
2WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF, Flüelastrasse 11, 7260 Davos Dorf, Switzerland
3Faculty of Civil Engineering, Czech Technical University in Prague, Thákurova 7, 166 29 Prague 6, Czech Republic
Abstract. The mechanisms of rainwater propagation and runoff generation during rain-on-snow (ROS) are still insufficiently known. Understanding the behaviour of liquid water within the natural snowpack is crucial especially for forecasting of natural hazards such as floods and wet snow avalanches. In this study, rainwater percolation through snow was investigated by sprinkling deuterium enriched water on snow and applying an advanced hydrograph separation technique on samples collected from the snowpack runoff. This allowed quantifying the contribution of rainwater and snowmelt in the water released from the snowpack. Four field experiments were carried out during the winter 2015 in the vicinity of Davos, Switzerland. For this purpose, large blocks of natural snow were isolated from the surrounding snowpack to inhibit lateral exchange of water. These blocks were exposed to artificial rainfall with 41 mm of deuterium enriched water. The sprinkling was run in four 30 minutes periods separated by three 30 minutes non-sprinkling periods. The runoff from the snow block was continuously gauged and sampled for the deuterium concentration. At the onset of each experiment initially present liquid water content was first pushed out by the sprinkling water. Hydrographs showed four pronounced peaks corresponding to the four sprinkling bursts. The contribution of rainwater to snowpack runoff consistently increased over the course of the experiment but never exceeded 86 %. An experiment conducted on a cold snowpack suggested the development of preferential flow paths that allowed rainwater to efficiently propagate through the snowpack limiting the time for mass exchange processes to take effect. On the contrary, experiments conducted on ripe isothermal snowpack showed a slower response behaviour and resulted in a total runoff volume which consisted of less than 50 % of the rain input.

Citation: Juras, R., Würzer, S., Pavlásek, J., Vitvar, T., and Jonas, T.: Rainwater propagation through snow pack during rain-on-snow events under different snow condition, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., doi:10.5194/hess-2016-612, in review, 2016.
Roman Juras et al.
Roman Juras et al.
Roman Juras et al.

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Short summary
This research investigates the rainwater dynamics in the snowpack under artificial rain-on-snow events. Deuterium enriched water was sprayed on the isolated snowpack and rainwater was further identified in the runoff. We found that runoff from cold snowpack was created faster than from the ripe snowpack. Runoff from the cold snowpack also contained more rainwater compared to the ripe snowpack. These results are valuable for further snowpack runoff forecasting.
This research investigates the rainwater dynamics in the snowpack under artificial rain-on-snow...
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