Journal cover Journal topic
Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
doi:10.5194/hess-2017-200
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
02 May 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).
Liquid water infiltration into a layered snowpack: evaluation of a 3D water transport model with laboratory experiments
Hiroyuki Hirashima1, Francesco Avanzi2, and Satoru Yamaguchi1 1Snow and Ice Research Center, National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Resilience, Suyoshi-machi, Nagaoka-shi, Niigata-ken, 940-0821, Japan
2Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Politecnico di Milano, Milano, Italy
Abstract. The heterogeneous movement of liquid water through snowpack during precipitation and snowmelt leads to complex liquid water distributions that are important for avalanche and runoff forecasting. We reproduced the formation of capillary barriers and the development of preferential flow through snow using a multi-dimensional water transport model, which was then validated using laboratory experiments of liquid water infiltration into layered, initially dry snow. Three-dimensional simulations assumed the same column shape and size, grain size, snow density, and water input rate as the laboratory experiments. Model evaluation focused on the timing of water movement, the thickness of the upper layer affected by ponding, and on water content profiles and the wet snow fraction. Simulation results showed that the model reconstructs some relevant features of capillary barriers including ponding in the upper layer, preferential infiltration far from the interface, and the timing of liquid water arrival at the snow base. In contrast, the area of preferential flow paths was usually underestimated and consequently the averaged water content in areas characterized by preferential flow paths was also underestimated. Improving the representation of water preferential infiltration into initially dry snow is necessary to reproduce the transition from a dry-snow-dominant condition to a wet-snow-dominant one, especially in long-period simulations.

Citation: Hirashima, H., Avanzi, F., and Yamaguchi, S.: Liquid water infiltration into a layered snowpack: evaluation of a 3D water transport model with laboratory experiments, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., doi:10.5194/hess-2017-200, in review, 2017.
Hiroyuki Hirashima et al.
Hiroyuki Hirashima et al.
Hiroyuki Hirashima et al.

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Short summary
We reproduced the formation of capillary barriers and the development of preferential flow through snow using a multi-dimensional water transport model, which was then validated using laboratory experiments of liquid water infiltration into layered, initially dry snow. Simulation results showed that the model reconstructs some relevant features of capillary barriers and the timing of liquid water arrival at the snow base.
We reproduced the formation of capillary barriers and the development of preferential flow...
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