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Open AccessArticle

Variations of the Snow Water Equivalent in the Ourika Catchment (Morocco) over 2000–2018 Using Downscaled MERRA-2 Data

Centre d’Etudes Spatiales de la Biosphère, Université de Toulouse, CNRS/CNES/IRD/UPS, 31400 Toulouse, France
Laboratoire Géoressources-Département des Sciences de la Terre, Faculté des Sciences et Techniques Guéliz, Université Cadi Ayyad, Av. A. Khattabi, BP 549, 40000 Marrakech, Morocco
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2018, 10(9), 1120;
Received: 29 June 2018 / Revised: 2 August 2018 / Accepted: 3 August 2018 / Published: 23 August 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applications of Remote Sensing and GIS in Hydrology)
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. View Full-Text
Keywords: snow water equivalent; semi-arid climate; MODIS; MERRA-2 snow water equivalent; semi-arid climate; MODIS; MERRA-2
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Baba, M.W.; Gascoin, S.; Jarlan, L.; Simonneaux, V.; Hanich, L. Variations of the Snow Water Equivalent in the Ourika Catchment (Morocco) over 2000–2018 Using Downscaled MERRA-2 Data. Water 2018, 10, 1120.

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