Snowpack temperatures from a subalpine forest below Niwot Ridge, Colorado, are examined with respect to atmospheric conditions and the 30-min above-canopy and subcanopy eddy covariance fluxes of sensible Qh and latent Qe heat. In the lower snowpack, daily snow temperature changes greater than 1°C day−1 occurred about 1–2 times in late winter and early spring, which resulted in transitions to and from an isothermal snowpack. Though air temperature was a primary control on snowpack temperature, rapid snowpack warm-up events were sometimes preceded by strong downslope winds that kept the nighttime air (and canopy) temperature above freezing, thus increasing sensible heat and longwave radiative transfer from the canopy to the snowpack. There was an indication that water vapor condensation on the snow surface intensified the snowpack warm-up.
Burns, S.P., P.D. Blanken, M.W. Williams, N.P. Molotch, B. Seok, J.K. Knowles, R.K. Monson, A.A. Turnipseed (2014): Snow temperature changes within a seasonal snowpack and their relationship to turbulent fluxes of sensible and latent heat. Journal of Hydrometeorology, 15, 117-142.
This Paper/Book acknowledges NSF CZO grant support.