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Reliability of Snowmelt Runoff Predictions Based on Mass Balance Procedures Versus Index Methods


Extensive measurements of snow water equivalent, depth density and runoff were made in the late winter and spring of 1972 and 1973 on a small subalpine watershed in Wyoming. Stratification of areas within the basin, particularly forested to non-forested, was found to be necessary. After ablation began, elevation stratification was also necessary. Areas subject to high winds had large depth variations, requiring large sample sizes. A sampling procedure was developed from which fairly good estimates of water equivalent in the basin were obtained. The procedure appears to be applicable to snow pack determinations for short range runoff forecasting.

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