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Chinese Researchers Analyze Seasonal Snowmelt Contribution in Altai Mountains

Apr 28, 2021

Chinese researchers have recently completed an analysis of seasonal snowmelt contribution for a river basin in the Altai Mountains in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

The study provides a sound basis for making snowmelt runoff predictions, which could be used to prevent snowmelt-induced flooding, said Wu Xuejiao, a researcher at the Northwest Institute of Eco-environment and Resources (NIEER) under the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

It also proposes a practical approach to better understand and evaluate remote, high-elevation regions, which are covered by seasonal snow but have limited high-density and long-term observation data.

Snowmelt water is a vital freshwater resource in the Altai Mountains. Using a distributed energy balance model, researchers simulated snowmelt runoff dynamics in the Kayiertesi River catchment in the 2000-2016 period, according to Wu.

The results show that snowmelt's contribution to runoff in the Altai Mountains can extend into non-snow days as the snowmelt water is retained in the soil.

In the 2000-2016 period, the snow-to-rain ratio decreased rapidly and the snowmelt contribution remained relatively stable in the region.

The results of the study have been published online in the journal Hydrological Processes. (Xinhua) 

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Analysis of seasonal snowmelt contribution using a distributed energy balance model for a river basin in the Altai Mountains of northwestern China

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