Use cases

SNOWPACK is widely used for research purposes all around the world in more than 35 institutions. The model has been successfully applied to the Alps, Scandinavia, Northen America, Japan, Russia, even Antartica. It has lead (together with Alpine3D, its spatially distributed derivative) to more than 60 ISI publications. It has been used for hydrological studies, climate change impact studies, snow stability questions, road weather applications, permafrost research, snow farming...

Operational usage experience

SNOWPACK runs operationally on a network of high Alpine automatic weather and snow measurement stations. Presently approximately 100 sites are in operation. These stations measure wind, air temperature, relative humidity, snow depth, surface temperature, ground (soil) temperature, reflected short wave radiation and three temperatures within the snowpack. The measurements are hourly transferred to the SLF and drive the model. SNOWPACK produces supplementary information regarding the state of the snowpack at the sites of the automatic stations. The model is connected to a relational data base which stores the measurements as well as the model results. Validations of SNOWPACK suggest that the calculations are reliable in terms of the mass balance and the energy budget. The implemented snow metamorphism formulations yield reasonable grain types and are able to reproduce important processes such as the formation of depth or surface hoar.

Other uses

In addition to the stand-alone applications, SNOWPACK is increasingly used in a distributed way (Kuonen et al., 2010). SNOWPACK has been coupled with atmospheric flow and snow drift modules as well as with spatial energy balance models. The coupled models are used to investigate snow deposition and snow cover development in steep terrain (Lehning and others, 2000) and to forecast ski run conditions for racing (however, the current version of SN_GUI does not include the visualization of distributed SNOWPACK calculations).

In order to make it easier to integrate Snowpack in other models, it has been repackaged as a library. You can therefore use the Snowpack library in another model. More details are given in Programming with libsnowpack.