Articles | Volume 18, issue 10
Research article
30 Oct 2014
Research article |  | 30 Oct 2014

LiDAR measurement of seasonal snow accumulation along an elevation gradient in the southern Sierra Nevada, California

P. B. Kirchner, R. C. Bales, N. P. Molotch, J. Flanagan, and Q. Guo

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Cited articles

Alpert, P.: Mesoscale indexing of the distribution of orographic precipitation over high mountains, J. Clim. Appl. Meteorol., 25, 532–545,<0532:MIOTDO>2.0.CO;2, 1986.
Anderson, B. T., McNamara, J. P., Marshall, H. P., and Flores, A. N.: Insights into the physical processes controlling correlations between snow distribution and terrain properties, Water Resour. Res., 50, 4545–4563,, 2014.
Anderson, R. G. and Goulden, M. L.: Relationships between climate, vegetation, and energy exchange across a montane gradient, J. Geophys. Res.-Biogeosci., 116, G01026,, 2011.
Anderton, S. P., White, S. M., and Alvera, B.: Evaluation of spatial variability in snow water equivalent for a high mountain catchment, Hydrol. Process., 18, 435–453,, 2004.
Arons, E. M. and Colbeck, S. C.: Geometry of heat and mass-transfer in dry snow – a review of theory and experiment, Rev. Geophys., 33, 463–493,, 1995.
Short summary
In this study we present results from LiDAR snow depth measurements made over 53 sq km and a 1600 m elevation gradient. We found a lapse rate of 15 cm accumulated snow depth and 6 cm SWE per 100 m in elevation until 3300 m, where depth sharply decreased. Residuals from this trend revealed the role of aspect and highlighted the importance of solar radiation and wind for snow distribution. Lastly, we compared LiDAR SWE estimations with four model estimates of SWE and total precipitation.