In the 21st century, a crucial question for mountain snowpacks worldwide is: How do we reliably predict snowmelt runoff and associated demand as climate changes, populations grow, land use evolves, and individual and societal choices are made? Our traditional forecasting methods are based on statistical relations developed when human impacts were less intense and the pace of climate change was slower. The rich, hard-won, long-term data that we have document trends already, but the lack of stationarity will cause uncertainty to get worse without new, more mechanistic approaches. At the same time, we see two emerging trends in science: (i) data-intensive science, The Fourth Paradigm, goes beyond computational modeling to foster analyses with many large datasets; and (ii) a new science of environmental applications. Applied to the snowmelt runoff problem, interpolations from ground measurements of snow-water equivalent, constrained by measurements of snow-covered area, provide a method to estimate the spatial distribution of snow. An energy balance snow-depletion calculation can be used for validation. The combination of models should improve the accuracy of snowmelt runoff forecasts, even in mountains with sparse data networks.
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About the speaker:
Professor Jeff Dozier received his BA from California State University, East Bay, in 1968 and his PhD from the University of Michigan in 1973. He has been a faculty member at UC Santa Barbara since 1974 and was the founding dean of the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management. He is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is also an Honorary Professor of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, a recipient of the NASA Public Service Medal, a Schneebaum Lecturer at Goddard Space Flight Center, and one of two winners of the 2005 Pecora Award from the Department of Interior and NASA. In 2009 he received the Jim Gray Award from Microsoft Research, for his achievements in data-intensive science.
A long-time backcountry skier, mountaineer, and rock climber, he helped lead six expeditions to the Hindu Kush range in Afghanistan and has a dozen first ascents there. Dozier Dome in Tuolumne Meadows is named after him (although he originally named it after María Lebrado, the granddaughter of Chief Tenaya and reportedly the last surviving member of her tribe).
Bren School of Environmental Science & Management
University of California
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-5131