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Development of a Snowmelt Runoff Model for the Lower Smoky River




Pomeroy, John W.
Shook, Kevin
Fang, Xing
Brown, Tom
Marsh, Christopher

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Centre for Hydrology, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan



Technical Report

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The Smoky River tributary of the Peace River has an ungauged (in real-time) basin area of 23,769 km2, corresponding to 46% of its basin area of 51,839 km2 . The purpose of this study was to develop a model to simulate the daily spring ungauged flows of the Smoky River and its main tributary, the Little Smoky River for recent periods using measured meteorological data and forecast periods using the outputs of a numerical weather forecast model. A physically-based model of the ungauged local flows contributing to the Smoky River at Watino and the Little Smoky River at Guy, the Lower Smoky River Model (LSRM), was developed using the CRHM platform. The model was deployed to 26 ungauged sub-basins, from which discharges were routed and accumulated to produce the ungauged discharges at Guy and Watino. The LSRM modelled discharge was evaluated to estimate the discharge of the Smoky River and Little Smoky River in an operational setting with measured meteorological observations. Results from this comparison were very good with a high degree of hydrograph predictability, small bias in flow estimation, and very good prediction of peak daily discharge and excellent prediction of the timing of peak daily discharge. The results were somewhat better for the Smoky River than for the Little Smoky River, showing the effect of increasing basin size in compensating for inadequate precipitation observation density and/or errors in model structure or parameterization. The model has not yet been tested in an operational setting during a spring snowmelt event and its full capabilities and usefulness cannot be assessed until it has been tested in such a setting.



Smoky River, Alberta, Hydrological modelling, Snowmelt, Runoff, Cold Regions Hydrological Model, Streamflow








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Centre for Hydrology Report #13