Simulating more accurate snow maps for Norway with MCMC parameter estimation method

Saloranta, T. M.
April 2014
Cryosphere Discussions;2014, Vol. 8 Issue 2, p1973
Academic Journal
The seNorge snow model produces daily updated maps (1kmx1km resolution) of snow conditions for Norway which are used by the national flood, avalanche and land- slide forecasting services, among others. The snow model uses gridded observations of daily temperature and precipitation as its input forcing. In this paper the revisions made to the new seNorge snow model code (v.1.1.1) are described, and a systematic model analysis is performed by first revealing the most influential key parameters by the Extended FAST sensitivity analysis and then estimating their probability distributions by the MCMC simulation method, using 565 observations of snow water equivalent (SWE) and snow density (ρ). The MCMC simulation resulted in rather narrow posterior distributions for the four estimated model parameters, and enhanced the model performance and snow map quality significantly, mainly by removing the known significant overestimation biases in SWE and ρ. In the new model version (v.1.1.1) the Nash--Sutcliffe (NS) model performance values are now well positive (NS= 0.61 for SWE and NS= 0.30 for ρ), in contrast to the much lower negative NS-values of the previous model (v.1.1). Moreover, the model evaluation against approximately 400 000 point measurements of snow depth shows improvement in the simulated percentage of "good match"-stations (76-84% before April, and still 65% at the end of April). Future research efforts should focus on decreasing the variability in the model fit with observations (i.e. model precision) by further improvements in the seNorge snow model and its important fundament, the gridded meteorological input data set used as its forcing.


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