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Heavy rain on snow cover

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Heavy rain on snow often leads to disastrous damages in torrent watersheds. In January1998 a project was started to investigate "runoff and infiltration characteristics of different alpine soil/vegetation units under snow cover". One aim was to determine the runoff rates from snow-covered, differently cultivated soil/vegetation units (pastures, dwarf-shrub stands, forests), especially under conditions of sparse snow cover and frozen soil. Differences in runoff formation between artificially snowed skiing areas and plots with natural snow cover were also of interest. Heavy rain (intensity 100 mm h−1) was simulated on four plots by using a transportable spray irrigation installation. The investigations showed runoff coefficients of 0.4–0.7. The lowest runoff values were found where the soil under snow cover was not frozen, but even on these stands the runoff coefficient exceeded 0.4. Snow depth and runoff delay are strongly correlated (R2 = 0.8). An increment in snow of 10 cm is followed by a runoff delay of 3.6 min. Divergences from this coherence are due to the composition of the snowpack, especially in case of artificial snow. This result is encouraged by runoff simulations performed for the irrigated plots by use of a hydrological model.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2001-01-01

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  • The Annals of Glaciology is a peer-reviewed, thematic journal published 2 to 4 times a year by the International Glaciological Society (IGS). Publication frequency is determined and volume/issue numbers assigned by the IGS Council on a year-to-year basis and with a lead time of 3 to 4 years. The Annals of Glaciology is included in the ISI Science Citation Index from volume 50, number 50 onwards.

    Themes can be on any aspect of the study of snow and ice. Individual members can make a suggestion for a theme for an Annals issue to the Secretary General, who will forward it to the IGS Publications Committee. The IGS Publication Committee will make a recommendation for an individual themed Annals issue, together with a potential Annals Chief Editor for that issue, to IGS Council. The IGS Council will make the decision whether to proceed, taking into account the spread of topics and the overall capacity for publication of pages in Annals.

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