Snowmelt: A two-dimensional turbulent diffusion model


  • Richard N. Weisman


The melt from a ripe snowpack due to sensible and latent heat flux is considered. The problem is two- dimensional; the snow field has a well-defined leading edge. The equations that describe the airflow over the snow are the conservation of momentum, sensible heat, and water vapor. The turbulent diffusion is formulated by semi-empirical turbulence theory. The solution shows the manner in which the point melt varies downwind from the leading edge and the average melt varies with the fetch of the snowpack for varying degrees of atmospheric stability conditions. The results indicate that a reasonably accurate estimate of total melt can be achieved by using the one-dimensional formulae with temperature, humidity, and velocity measurements taken over the central part of the snow field.