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Numerical modeling of blowing and drifting snow in Alpine terrain

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In mountainous regions, snow transport due to wind significantly influences snow distribution and, as a result, avalanche danger. A physically based numerical two-layer model is developed to simulate blowing and drifting snow in Alpine terrain. One layer describes the driving-wind field and the transport in suspension. The description is based on the atmospheric boundary-layer equations, using an e– model for the turbulent closure. The second layer describes the transport due to saltation, including erosion and deposition of snow. Here, conservation equations for mass and momentum are formulated for the mixture of snow and air. Particle trajectory calculations are used to parameterize quantities characterizing the saltation layer. Both layers are mutually coupled by boundary conditions. A two-way coupling between particles and airflow is taken into account. Comparisons between simulation results and field measurements around an Alpine crest show encouraging results.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2001

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  • The Journal of Glaciology is published six times per year. It accepts submissions from any discipline related to the study of snow and ice. All articles are peer reviewed. The Journal is included in the ISI Science Citation Index.
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