2020 CAN Awards

PROJECT: Data assimilation and modeling to improve snow water equivalent assessment in Alaska

Science PI: Svetlana Stuefer, Associate Professor, UAF

This proposal is relevant to the strategic research of the NASA Terrestrial Hydrology Program (THP) and THP program’s current priority to improve the ability to assess the seasonal snow component of the water cycle. The goal of this proposal is to contribute to the snow water equivalent (SWE) uncertainty analysis that lays the foundation for THP’s snow-focused observing system simulation experiment. This goal can be achieved by providing high-resolution SWE maps produced by the SnowModel snow data-model fusion system while assimilating in-situ SWE measurements collected by University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) and other regional networks. SWE assessment is challenging in many areas of North America, but the situation is especially complicated in Alaska with the state’s sparse–and diminishing–snow observation network, extreme topographic gradients, and a vast spatial extent. The advantage of our group is that we have collected, documented, and maintained consistent and repeated ground-based weather and SWE time series over a large region of northern Alaska. The scope of work is also coordinated with the upcoming NASA’s SnowEx field campaign that will take place near Fairbanks and on the North Slope of Alaska in 2021–2023. While our long-term goal is to create accurate and reliable SWE maps for the entire state, this proposal focuses on the region north of 64N and continues the legacy of UAF snow research in the Arctic through collaboration with NASA’s THP and the Goddard Space Flight Center.

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