Cutting Edge > Complex Systems > AGU Modeling Workshop 2010 > Modeling Exercise Ideas > An energy balance model of snowpack

This is a partially developed activity description. It is included in the collection because it contains ideas useful for teaching even though it is incomplete.

An energy balance model of snowpack

Eric Sproles, Department of Geosciences, Oregon State University

Topic: snow, energy balance, climate change, cryosphere
Course type: Introductory or upper level undergraduate course


This introductory lesson would allow students to model the energy balance associated with snowpack at regional scales. Students would then be able to apply predicted climate scenarios, and re-run the model.

Learning Goals or Outcomes

- Students will gain an understanding of the energy balance as individual components and as a sum of all parts

- Students will be able to see how climate variability affects snowpack

- Students will quantify how climatic changes will affect the energy balance for the example model

How would you assess whether those goals have been met?

pre and post assessment


Liston, Glen E., Kelly Elder, 2006: A Distributed Snow-Evolution Modeling System (SnowModel). J. Hydrometeor, 7, 1259–1276.

David Tarboton and Charles Luce - Utah Energy Balance Snow Accumulation and Melt Model (UEB)

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