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A Subalpine Snowmelt Runoff Model


A digital computer model for simulating daily watershed runoff from snowmelt under subalpine conditions has been developed in first-generation form.

Solar radiation is the primary source for snowmelt. The areal extent of snowcover is calculated with a submodel derived through stepwise multiple regression techniques. Insolation measured in or near the basin is adjusted to the latitude, slope, and aspect of each segment in the basin, then adjusted for albedo and combined with longwave radiation for the net radiation exchange producing potential snowmelts. These snowmelts are adjusted for snowpack conditions and distribution, and become the runoff from each segment to be routed through flow points as daily discharges.

Comparison of simulated flows with observed flows indicated reasonably satisfactory model performance. The model was developed and tested for the Nash Fork basin in southeastern Wyoming, but there are no theoretical reasons to prevent application of the model to other watersheds where snowmelt is the dominant source of streamflow.

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