Articles | Volume 21, issue 3
Research article
24 Mar 2017
Research article |  | 24 Mar 2017

Modelling liquid water transport in snow under rain-on-snow conditions – considering preferential flow

Sebastian Würzer, Nander Wever, Roman Juras, Michael Lehning, and Tobias Jonas

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Cited articles

Badoux, A., Hofer, M., and Jonas, T.: Hydrometeorologische Analyse des Hochwasserereignisses vom 10. Oktober 2011, Tech. Rep., WSL/SLF/MeteoSwiss, available at: (last access: 6 February 2017), 92 pp., 2013 (in German).
Bartelt, P. and Lehning, M.: A physical SNOWPACK model for the Swiss avalanche warning Part I: numerical model, Cold Reg. Sci. Technol., 35, 123–145,, 2002.
Calonne, N., Geindreau, C., Flin, F., Morin, S., Lesaffre, B., Rolland du Roscoat, S., and Charrier, P.: 3-D image-based numerical computations of snow permeability: links to specific surface area, density, and microstructural anisotropy, The Cryosphere, 6, 939–951,, 2012.
Colbeck, S. C.: A theory of water percolation in snow, J. Glaciol., 11, 369–385, 1972.
Coléou, C. and Lesaffre, B.: Irreducible water saturation in snow: experimental results in a cold laboratory, Ann. Glaciol., 26, 64–68, 1998.
Short summary
We discuss a dual-domain water transport model in a physics-based snowpack model to account for preferential flow (PF) in addition to matrix flow. So far no operationally used snow model has explicitly accounted for PF. The new approach is compared to existing water transport models and validated against in situ data from sprinkling and natural rain-on-snow (ROS) events. Our work demonstrates the benefit of considering PF in modelling hourly snowpack runoff, especially during ROS conditions.