Results of runoff simulations from various basins using a snowmelt runoff model were analyzed in order to predict the accuracy of simulations in future applications of the model. It was found that the model can be applied to nearly any mountainous basin where snowmelt runoff is an important factor if input data on temperature, precipitation, and snow cover are available. The simulation accuracy will depend on the quality of the input data as well as on the density of observations, size of the basin, care in determination of the recession coefficient, and amount of precipitation during snowmelt. Most accurate simulations will result when: 1) temperature and precipitation are recorded at the basin mean elevation; 2) snow cover observations are available once per week; 3) several climatic stations are available for large basins; and 4) a few years of runoff records exist for determination of the recession coefficient. Decreases in simulation accuracy will be expected as these optimum conditions are compromised, however, acceptable simulations will result with the following minimum conditions: 1) temperature and precipitation data are available in the general vicinity of the basin; and 2) snow cover observations are available 2-3 times during the snowmelt season. The availability of satellite observations of snow cover extent has permitted successful application of the model to large basins.
Research Article|August 01 1981
Accuracy of Snowmelt Runoff Simulation