Laws of snow metamorphism have been introduced in a numerical model which simulates the evolution of temperature, density and liquid-water profiles of snow cover as a function of weather conditions.
To establish these laws, the authors have summarized previous studies on temperature gradient and on wet-snow metamorphism and they have also conducted metamorphism experiments on dry or wet fresh-snow samples. An original formalism was developed to allow a description of snow with parameters evolving continuously throughout time.
The introduction of laws of metamorphism has improved significantly the derivation of the settlement of internal layers and of snow-covered albedo, which depend on the simulated stratigraphy, i.e. the type and size of snow grains of different layers of the snow cover.
The model was tested during a whole winter season without any re-initialization. Comparison between the simulated characteristics of the snow cover and the observations made in the field are described in detail. The model proved itself to be very efficient in simulating accurately the evolution of the snow-cover stratigraphy throughout the whole winter season.