Spatial and temporal distribution of snow water content and response to air temperature in seasonal snow in the western Tianshan Mountains, China

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

The snow water content was measured with a portable instrument (Snow Fork) in the Tianshan Station for Snow-cover and Avalanche, Chinese Academy of Sciences (TS) during the snow period in the winter of 2009–2010. The results indicated that the variation of snow water content increases exponentially over time. In the accumulation-stable period, the migration of liquid water is from the bottom to the surface of the snow profile. In the snowmelt period, the migration direction is reversed. In the transition period, both directions of transfer exist simultaneously. There are three different types of response to air temperature: (a) when the average temperature is below −7 °C, the snow water content has a best fit with the accumulated air temperature with a simple linear function; (b) when the average temperature is between −7 and −1 °C, the snow water content has a best fit with the average air temperature, with an exponential function; and (c) when the average air temperature is higher than −1 °C, the snow water content has a best fit with the maximum air temperature, with an exponential function.

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