Daniel Günther


DOI bib
Evaluating a prediction system for snow management
Pirmin Philipp Ebner, Franziska Koch, Valentina Premier, Carlo Marín, Florian Hanzer, Carlo Maria Carmagnola, Hugues François, Daniel Günther, Fabiano Monti, Olivier Hargoaa, Ulrich Strasser, Samuel Morin, Michael Lehning
The Cryosphere, Volume 15, Issue 8

Abstract. The evaluation of snowpack models capable of accounting for snow management in ski resorts is a major step towards acceptance of such models in supporting the daily decision-making process of snow production managers. In the framework of the EU Horizon 2020 (H2020) project PROSNOW, a service to enable real-time optimization of grooming and snow-making in ski resorts was developed. We applied snow management strategies integrated in the snowpack simulations of AMUNDSEN, Crocus, and SNOWPACK–Alpine3D for nine PROSNOW ski resorts located in the European Alps. We assessed the performance of the snow simulations for five winter seasons (2015–2020) using both ground-based data (GNSS-measured snow depth) and spaceborne snow maps (Copernicus Sentinel-2). Particular attention has been devoted to characterizing the spatial performance of the simulated piste snow management at a resolution of 10 m. The simulated results showed a high overall accuracy of more than 80 % for snow-covered areas compared to the Sentinel-2 data. Moreover, the correlation to the ground observation data was high. Potential sources for local differences in the snow depth between the simulations and the measurements are mainly the impact of snow redistribution by skiers; compensation of uneven terrain when grooming; or spontaneous local adaptions of the snow management, which were not reflected in the simulations. Subdividing each individual ski resort into differently sized ski resort reference units (SRUs) based on topography showed a slight decrease in mean deviation. Although this work shows plausible and robust results on the ski slope scale by all three snowpack models, the accuracy of the results is mainly dependent on the detailed representation of the real-world snow management practices in the models. As snow management assessment and prediction systems get integrated into the workflow of resort managers, the formulation of snow management can be refined in the future.


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Uncertainties in Snowpack Simulations—Assessing the Impact of Model Structure, Parameter Choice, and Forcing Data Error on Point‐Scale Energy Balance Snow Model Performance
Daniel Günther, Thomas Marke, Richard Essery, Ulrich Strasser
Water Resources Research, Volume 55, Issue 4

In this study, we assess the impact of forcing data errors, model structure, and parameter choices on 1‐D snow simulations simultaneously within a global variance‐based sensitivity analysis framework. This approach allows inclusion of interaction effects, drawing a more representative picture of the resulting sensitivities. We utilize all combinations of a multiphysics snowpack model to mirror the influence of model structure. Uncertainty ranges of model parameters and input data are extracted from the literature. We evaluate a suite of 230,000 model realizations at the snow monitoring station Kühtai (Tyrol, Austria, 1,920 m above sea level) against snow water equivalent observations. The results show throughout the course of 25 winter seasons (1991–2015) and different model performance criteria a large influence of forcing data uncertainty and its interactions on the model performance. Mean interannual total sensitivity indices are in the general order of parameter choice < model structure < forcing error, with precipitation, air temperature, and the radiative forcings controlling the variance during the accumulation period and air temperature and longwave irradiance controlling the variance during the ablation period, respectively. Model skill is highly sensitive to the snowpack liquid water transport scheme throughout the whole winter period and to albedo representation during the ablation period. We found a sufficiently long evaluation period (>10 years) is required for robust averaging. A considerable interaction effect was revealed, indicating that an improvement in the knowledge (i.e., reduction of uncertainty) of one factor alone might not necessarily improve model results.

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A Novel Data Fusion Technique for Snow Cover Retrieval
Ludovica De Gregorio, Mattia Callegari, Carlo Marín, Marc Zebisch, Lorenzo Bruzzone, Begüm Demir, Ulrich Strasser, Thomas Marke, Daniel Günther, Rudi Nadalet, Claudia Notarnicola
IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing, Volume 12, Issue 8

This paper presents a novel data fusion technique for improving the snow cover monitoring for a mesoscale Alpine region, in particular in those areas where two information sources disagree. The presented methodological innovation consists in the integration of remote-sensing data products and the numerical simulation results by means of a machine learning classifier (support vector machine), capable to extract information from their quality measures. This differs from the existing approaches where remote sensing is only used for model tuning or data assimilation. The technique has been tested to generate a time series of about 1300 snow maps for the period between October 2012 and July 2016. The results show an average agreement between the fused product and the reference ground data of 96%, compared to 90% of the moderate-resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS) data product and 92% of the numerical model simulation. Moreover, one of the most important results is observed from the analysis of snow cover area (SCA) time series, where the fused product seems to overcome the well-known underestimation of snow in forest of the MODIS product, by accurately reproducing the SCA peaks of winter season.

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Improving SWE Estimation by Fusion of Snow Models with Topographic and Remotely Sensed Data
Ludovica De Gregorio, Daniel Günther, Mattia Callegari, Ulrich Strasser, Marc Zebisch, Lorenzo Bruzzone, Claudia Notarnicola
Remote Sensing, Volume 11, Issue 17

This paper presents a new concept to derive the snow water equivalent (SWE) based on the joint use of snow model (AMUNDSEN) simulation, ground data, and auxiliary products derived from remote sensing. The main objective is to characterize the spatial-temporal distribution of the model-derived SWE deviation with respect to the real SWE values derived from ground measurements. This deviation is due to the intrinsic uncertainty of any theoretical model, related to the approximations in the analytical formulation. The method, based on the k-NN algorithm, computes the deviation for some labeled samples, i.e., samples for which ground measurements are available, in order to characterize and model the deviations associated to unlabeled samples (no ground measurements available), by assuming that the deviations of samples vary depending on the location within the feature space. Obtained results indicate an improved performance with respect to AMUNDSEN model, by decreasing the RMSE and the MAE with ground data, on average, from 154 to 75 mm and from 99 to 45 mm, respectively. Furthermore, the slope of regression line between estimated SWE and ground reference samples reaches 0.9 from 0.6 of AMUNDSEN simulations, by reducing the data spread and the number of outliers.