Drifting-snow studies over an instrumented mountainous site: II. Measurements and numerical model at small scale

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The Érosion torrentielle, neige et avalanche (Etna) unit of CEMAGREF and the Centre d'Études de la Neige of Météo-France have been working on snowdrift for 10 years. A numerical model was developed at CEMAGREF to simulate snowdrift (Naaim and others, 1998). To validate this model on in situ data, a high-altitude experimental site was developed, located at 2700 m a.s.l. at the Lac Blanc Pass near the Alpe d'Huez ski resort. It is a nearly flat area and faces winds primarily from north and south. After describing the experimental site, we present the processed data of winter 1998/99. First, we analyze the data from CEMAGREF's acoustic snowdrift sensor. It is sensitive to snow depth and snow-particle type, so additional calibration is necessary. Nevertheless, it allowed us to study non- stationary aspects of drifting snow. An analysis of gust factors for wind and drifting snow indicates that strong wind-gust factors exist in the mountains, and that drifting snow is more important during a regular and strong wind episode than during high wind-gust periods. Therefore, the numerical model presented here uses only the recorded mean wind speed. The model, which attempts to reproduce several days of storm, takes into account the modification of input parameters (e.g. wind speed) as a function of time. The comparison between numerical results and measurements for a given meteorological event shows good agreement.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3189/172756401781819364

Publication date: January 1, 2001

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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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