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SNOWPACK model simulations for snow in Hokkaido, Japan

  • Hiroyuki Hirashima (a1), Kouichi Nishimura (a2), Emiko Baba (a1), Akihiro Hachikubo (a3) and Michael Lehning (a4)...

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.

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Annals of Glaciology
  • ISSN: 0260-3055
  • EISSN: 1727-5644
  • URL: /core/journals/annals-of-glaciology
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