FROSTBYTE: A reproducible data-driven workflow for probabilistic seasonal streamflow forecasting in snow-fed river basins across North America
Abstract. Seasonal streamflow forecasts provide key information for decision-making in sectors such as water supply management, hydropower generation, and irrigation scheduling. The predictability of streamflow on seasonal timescales relies heavily on initial hydrological conditions, such as the presence of snow and the availability of soil moisture. In high-latitude and high-altitude headwater basins in North America, snowmelt serves as the primary source of runoff generation. This study presents and evaluates a data-driven workflow for probabilistic seasonal streamflow forecasting in snow-fed river basins across North America (Canada and the USA). The workflow employs snow water equivalent (SWE) measurements as predictors and streamflow observations as predictands. Gap filling of SWE datasets is accomplished using quantile mapping from neighboring SWE and precipitation stations, and Principal Component Analysis is used to identify independent predictor components. These components are then utilized in a regression model to generate ensemble hindcasts of streamflow volumes for 75 nival basins with limited regulation from 1979 to 2021, encompassing diverse geographies and climates. Using a hindcast evaluation approach that is user-oriented provides key insights for snow monitoring experts, forecasters, decision-makers, and workflow developers. The analysis presented here unveils a wide spectrum of predictability and offers a glimpse into potential future changes in predictability. Late-season snowpack emerges as a key factor for predicting spring/summer volumes, while high precipitation during the target period presents challenges to forecast skill and streamflow predictability. Notably, we can predict lower and higher than normal streamflows during the spring to early summer with up to five months lead time in some basins. Our workflow is available on GitHub as a collection of Jupyter Notebooks, facilitating broader applications in cold regions and contributing to the ongoing advancement of methodologies.
Model code and software
FROSTBYTE: Forecasting River Outlooks from Snow Timeseries: Building Yearly Targeted Ensembles https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.10310683
Interactive computing environment
FROSTBYTE: Forecasting River Outlooks from Snow Timeseries: Building Yearly Targeted Ensembles https://github.com/CH-Earth/FROSTBYTE
Viewed (geographical distribution)