Articles | Volume 12, issue 1
The Cryosphere, 12, 287–300, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-12-287-2018
The Cryosphere, 12, 287–300, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-12-287-2018

Research article 23 Jan 2018

Research article | 23 Jan 2018

Hydrologic flow path development varies by aspect during spring snowmelt in complex subalpine terrain

Ryan W. Webb et al.

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Cited articles

Adam, J. C., Hamlet, A. F., and Lettenmaier, D. P.: Implications of global climate change for snowmelt hydrology in the twenty-first century, Hydrol. Process., 23, 962–972, https://doi.org/10.1002/hyp.7201, 2009.
Adams, E., Slaughter, A., McKittrick, L., and Miller, D.: Local terrain-topography and thermal-properties influence on energy and mass balance of a snow cover, Ann. Glaciol., 52, 169–175, 2011.
Avanzi, F., Hirashima, H., Yamaguchi, S., Katsushima, T., and De Michele, C.: Observations of capillary barriers and preferential flow in layered snow during cold laboratory experiments, The Cryosphere, 10, 2013–2026, https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-10-2013-2016, 2016.
Bales, R. C., Molotch, N. P., Painter, T. H., Dettinger, M. D., Rice, R., and Dozier, J.: Mountain hydrology of the western United States, Water Resour. Res., 42, W08432, https://doi.org/10.1029/2005wr004387, 2006.
Bales, R. C., Hopmans, J. W., O'Geen, A. T., Meadows, M., Hartsough, P. C., Kirchner, P., Hunsaker, C. T., and Beaudette, D.: Soil moisture response to snowmelt and rainfall in a Sierra Nevada mixed-conifer forest, Vadose Zone J., 10, 786, https://doi.org/10.2136/vzj2011.0001, 2011.
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Short summary
We observed how snowmelt is transported on a hillslope through multiple measurements of snow and soil moisture across a small headwater catchment. We found that snowmelt flows through the snow with less infiltration on north-facing slopes and infiltrates the ground on south-facing slopes. This causes an increase in snow water equivalent at the base of the north-facing slope by as much as 170 %. We present a conceptualization of flow path development to improve future investigations.