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Variations of the snow water equivalent in the ourika catchment (Morocco) over 2000-2018 using downscaled MERRA-2 data

Abstract : The Ourika River is an important tributary of the Tensift River in the water-stressed region of Marrakesh (Morocco). The Ourika river flow is dominated by the snow melt contribution from the High Atlas mountains. Despite its importance in terms of water resources, the snow water equivalent (SWE) is poorly monitored in the Ourika catchment. Here, we used MERRA-2 data to run a distributed energy-balance snowpack model (SnowModel) over 2000-2018. MERRA-2 data were downscaled to 250-m spatial resolution using a digital elevation model. The model outputs were compared to in situ measurements of snow depth, precipitation, river flow and remote sensing observations of the snow cover area from MODIS. The results indicate that the model provides an overall acceptable representation of the snow cover dynamics given the coarse resolution of the MERRA-2 forcing. Then, we used the model output to analyze the spatio-temporal variations of the SWE in the Ourika catchment for the first time. We suggest that MERRA-2 data, which are routinely available with a delay of a few weeks, can provide valuable information to monitor the snow resource in high mountain areas without in situ measurements.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-02351622
Contributor : Simon Gascoin <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, January 12, 2021 - 4:52:00 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, January 13, 2021 - 10:00:36 PM

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M.W. Baba, Simon Gascoin, L. Jarlan, V. Simonneaux, L. Hanich. Variations of the snow water equivalent in the ourika catchment (Morocco) over 2000-2018 using downscaled MERRA-2 data. Water, MDPI, 2018, 10 (9), ⟨10.3390/w10091120⟩. ⟨hal-02351622⟩

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