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SNOWPACK model simulations for snow in Hokkaido, Japan

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Numerical simulations using SNOWPACK, a snow-cover model, were carried out to confirm the model's applicability to conditions in Hokkaido, Japan, where temperatures are fairly low and for 3 months the snow surface is usually dry except during occasional periods of rain or above-freezing temperatures. The simulations were conducted for Sapporo, Kitami and Niseko using meteorological data, and the results were compared with the observed snow profiles. In Sapporo, snow-profile observations were carried out every day for two winters. In Niseko, one of the most popular ski resorts in Japan, an avalanche accident occurred on 28 January 1998 and a snow pit was dug through the fracture line the next morning. The simulated snow profiles agreed fairly well with the observed ones. However, near the surface we observed depth hoar, which can be an important factor in avalanche release after successive snowfalls, that the model did not reproduce distinctly. Extending the model's metamorphism laws with an expression of depth-hoar formation under a large temperature gradient, as formulated from an experiment by Fukuzawa and Akitaya (1993), the model reproduced the depth hoar adequately.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2004

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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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