Journal Highlights

Modeling blowing snow accumulation downwind of an obstruction: The Ohara Eulerian particle distribution equation

Commentary in Water Resources Research

Snow is carried by wind, and snowdrifts often accumulate downwind of trees, a fence, a building, or a mountain ridge. Ohara [2017] came up with a math equation that can determine the shape of the snow drift without the need for measurements of wind speed. This is useful when wind speed measurements are not available. Determining the shape of the snow drift allows scientists to better understand the physics related to how snow is moved by the wind at a certain location. The equation is useful since it could be used to design snow fences, which reduce blowing snow and increase visibility near roads. Snow fences are also used to make snow accumulate on fields so that the water from melting snow can help to grow crops. Also, the equation can be used with other equations to better predict the accumulation of snow in cold regions so that climate change, drought or flooding can be predicted. Snow accumulation on mountain ridges could be determined and used to make avalanche predictions. However, the math equation requires some inputs that are not easy to calculate and more research is required to determine the best way to find these inputs. More…

-- N.J. Kinar, Global Institute for Water Security, University of Saskatchewan,