A. Trangsrud


DOI bib
A High-Resolution Data Assimilation Framework for Snow Water Equivalent Estimation across the Western United States and Validation with the Airborne Snow Observatory
C. M. Oaida, J. T. Reager, Konstantinos M. Andreadis, Cédric H. David, S. Levoe, T. H. Painter, K. J. Bormann, A. Trangsrud, Manuela Girotto, J. S. Famiglietti
Journal of Hydrometeorology, Volume 20, Issue 3

Abstract Numerical simulations of snow water equivalent (SWE) in mountain systems can be biased, and few SWE observations have existed over large domains. New approaches for measuring SWE, like NASA’s ultra-high-resolution Airborne Snow Observatory (ASO), offer an opportunity to improve model estimates by providing a high-quality validation target. In this study, a computationally efficient snow data assimilation (DA) approach over the western United States at 1.75-km spatial resolution for water years (WYs) 2001–17 is presented. A local ensemble transform Kalman filter implemented as a batch smoother is used with the VIC hydrology model to assimilate the remotely sensed daily MODIS fractional snow-covered area (SCA). Validation of the high-resolution SWE estimates is done against ASO SWE data in the Tuolumne basin (California), Uncompahgre basin (Colorado), and Olympic Peninsula (Washington). Results indicate good performance in dry years and during melt, with DA reducing Tuolumne basin-average SWE percent differences from −68%, −92%, and −84% in open loop to 0.6%, 25%, and 3% after DA for WYs 2013–15, respectively, for ASO dates and spatial extent. DA also improved SWE percent difference over the Uncompahgre basin (−84% open loop, −65% DA) and Olympic Peninsula (26% open loop, −0.2% DA). However, in anomalously wet years DA underestimates SWE, likely due to an inadequate snow depletion curve parameterization. Despite potential shortcomings due to VIC model setup (e.g., water balance mode) or parameterization (snow depletion curve), the DA framework implemented in this study shows promise in overcoming some of these limitations and improving estimated SWE, in particular during drier years or at higher elevations, when most in situ observations cannot capture high-elevation snowpack due to lack of stations there.

DOI bib
Model-data fusion of hydrologic simulations and GRACE terrestrial water storage observations to estimate changes in water table depth
D. Stampoulis, J. T. Reager, Cédric H. David, Konstantinos M. Andreadis, J. S. Famiglietti, Tom G. Farr, A. Trangsrud, Ralph R. Basilio, John L. Sabo, G. B. Osterman, P. Lundgren, Zhen Liu
Advances in Water Resources, Volume 128

Abstract Despite numerous advances in continental-scale hydrologic modeling and improvements in global Land Surface Models, an accurate representation of regional water table depth (WTD) remains a challenge. Data assimilation of observations from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) mission leads to improvements in the accuracy of hydrologic models, ultimately resulting in more reliable estimates of lumped water storage. However, the usually shallow groundwater compartment of many models presents a problem with GRACE assimilation techniques, as these satellite observations also represent changes in deeper soils and aquifers. To improve the accuracy of modeled groundwater estimates and allow the representation of WTD at finer spatial scales, we implemented a simple, yet novel approach to integrate GRACE data, by augmenting the Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) hydrologic model. First, the subsurface model structural representation was modified by incorporating an additional (fourth) soil layer of varying depth (up to 1000 m) in VIC as the bottom ‘groundwater’ layer. This addition allows the model to reproduce water storage variability not only in shallow soils but also in deeper groundwater, in order to allow integration of the full GRACE-observed variability. Second, a Direct Insertion scheme was developed that integrates the high temporal (daily) and spatial (∼6.94 km) resolution model outputs to match the GRACE resolution, performs the integration, and then disaggregates the updated model state after the assimilation step. Simulations were performed with and without Direct Insertion over the three largest river basins in California and including the Central Valley, in order to test the augmented model's ability to capture seasonal and inter-annual trends in the water table. This is the first-ever fusion of GRACE total water storage change observations with hydrologic simulations aiming at the determination of water table depth dynamics, at spatial scales potentially useful for local water management.