Preferential deposition of snow and dust over hills: governing processes and relevant scales

Preferential deposition of snow and dust over complex terrain is responsible for a wide range of environmental processes, and accounts for a significant source of uncertainty in surface mass balances of cold and arid regions. Despite the growing body of literature on the subject, previous studies reported contradictory results on the location and magnitude of deposition maxima and minima. This study aims at unraveling the governing processes of preferential deposition in neutrally stable atmosphere and to reconcile seemingly inconsistent results of previous works. For this purpose, a comprehensive modeling approach is developed, based on large eddy simulations of the turbulent airflow, Lagrangian stochastic model of particle trajectories, and immersed-boundary method to represent the underlying topography. The model performance is tested against wind tunnel measurements of dust deposition around isolated and sequential hills. A scale analysis is then performed to investigate the dependence of snowfall deposition on the particle Froude and Stokes numbers, which fully account for the governing processes of inertia, flow advection, and gravity. Additional simulations are performed, to test whether the often used assumption of inertialess particles yields accurate deposition patterns. We finally show that our scale analysis provides qualitatively similar results for hills with different aspect ratios.

This dataset contains the results of the LES-LSM model. Each Matlab file contains a 2D array of deposition values (in kg/m2) in each surface node (ix, iy) of the Cartesian grid. The file names are consistent with the simulation numbers listed in the original paper. For additional information, please refer to "Preferential deposition of snow and dust over hills: governing processes and relevant scales" by F. Comola, M. G. Giometto, S. T. Salesky, M. B. Parlange, and M. Lehning, Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 2019.


Francesco Comola; Marco G. Giometto; Scott T. Salesky; Marc B. Parlange; Michael Lehning (2019). Preferential deposition of snow and dust over hills: governing processes and relevant scales. EnviDat.

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Data and Resources


Field Values
  • Name: Francesco Comola  Affiliation: Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland  Email: francesco.comolafoo(at)  ORCID: 0000-0002-3867-732X  DataCRediT: Collection, Validation, Curation, Software, Publication
  • Name: Marco G. Giometto  Affiliation: Columbia University, New York, USA  Email: marco.giomettofoo(at)  DataCRediT: Software, Publication, Supervision
  • Name: Scott T. Salesky  Affiliation: The University of Oklahoma, USA  Email: saleskyfoo(at)  DataCRediT: Software, Publication, Supervision
  • Name: Marc B. Parlange  Affiliation: Monash University, Australia  Email: marc.oparlangefoo(at)  DataCRediT: Publication, Supervision
  • Name: Michael Lehning  Affiliation: WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research, SLF, Switzerland  Email: lehningfoo(at)  DataCRediT: Publication, Supervision
Contact Person Name: Francesco Comola  Email: francesco.comolafoo(at)  Affiliation: Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland  ORCID: 0000-0002-3867-732X
Publication Publisher: EnviDat  Year: 2019
  • Type: Created  Date: 2017-4-1  End Date: 2019-4-1
Version 1.0
Type Dataset
General Type Dataset
Language English
Location Switzerland
License Open Data Commons Open Database License (ODbL)    [Open Data]
Last Updated March 10, 2019, 19:13 (CET)
Created March 10, 2019, 19:10 (CET)