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Advances in Meteorology
Volume 2016, Article ID 9695757, 10 pages
Review Article

Difficulties in Determining Snowpack Sublimation in Complex Terrain at the Macroscale

Department of Soil, Environmental, and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211, USA

Received 22 December 2014; Revised 12 May 2015; Accepted 21 May 2015

Academic Editor: Shiqiang Zhang

Copyright © 2016 Bohumil M. Svoma. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In many mountainous regions, snowmelt is an essential component of water resources and ecosystem function and snow sublimation often leads to water loss from the given drainage basin. Previous investigators have developed numerous modeling and measurement techniques to quantify sublimation, illustrating high variability over short distances. The complexities of modeling and measuring sublimation limit investigations to smaller scales in complex terrain and therefore the effects that microscale controls on sublimation have at the macroscale are not well understood. A key component of microscale variability, vegetation cover, can change on short time scales relative to other components (e.g., slope, aspect, and elevation) in response to natural and anthropogenic influences such as land use practice, drought, wildfire, insect infestation, and climate change. Basic vegetation-sublimation relationships may vary within a given drainage basin, by climate type, seasonally, and interannually. It is therefore particularly important to advance understanding of vegetation effects on sublimation at the macroscale.