Articles | Volume 15, issue 3
Research article
19 Mar 2021
Research article |  | 19 Mar 2021

Two-dimensional liquid water flow through snow at the plot scale in continental snowpacks: simulations and field data comparisons

Ryan W. Webb, Keith Jennings, Stefan Finsterle, and Steven R. Fassnacht

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Cited articles

Avanzi, F., Petrucci, G., Matzl, M., Schneebeli, M., and De Michele, C.: Early formation of preferential flow in a homogeneous snowpack observed by micro-CT, Water Resour. Res., 53, 3713–3729,, 2017. 
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Bradford, J., Harper, J., and Brown, J.: Complex dielectric permittivity measurements from ground-penetrating radar data to estimate snow liquid water content in the pendular regime, Water Resour. Res., 45, W08403,, 2009. 
Brauchli, T., Trujillo, E., Huwald, H., and Lehning, M.: Influence of Slope-Scale Snowmelt on Catchment Response Simulated With the Alpine3D Model, Water Resour. Res., 53, 10723–10739,, 2017. 
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. 
Short summary
We simulate the flow of liquid water through snow and compare results to field experiments. This process is important because it controls how much and how quickly water will reach our streams and rivers in snowy regions. We found that water can flow large distances downslope through the snow even after the snow has stopped melting. Improved modeling of snowmelt processes will allow us to more accurately estimate available water resources, especially under changing climate conditions.