Rain and snowfall in winter and early spring contributes the bulk of annual inflows into the Snowy Mountains Scheme. This captured water is of very high value, providing energy for hydroelectricity generation and subsequently being diverted for agriculture in the Murray-Darling Basin. Yet substantial deficiencies persist in our conceptual understanding, physical observations, and model simulations, of the key dynamical and microphysical mechanisms, that produce precipitation in the Australian Alpine region.
These deficiencies have driven the need for further research, funded by an ARC Linkage project between Snowy Hydro, Monash University, the Bureau of Meteorology, and other partners. Among other objectives, the project aims to explore the spatial and temporal relationships between supercooled liquid water in clouds, and precipitation patterns at the surface. This will be achieved through a combination of satellite observations, numerical model simulations, and field observations.
This presentation describes the Snowy Mountains field component of this project and presents some preliminary data. The observational period was conducted in July-August of 2018, timed to coincide with peak wintertime storm activity. A selection of new in-situ and remote-sensing instruments were deployed at a number of sites around the Snowy Mountains, complementing the existing surface meteorological networks. Data was collected from a good number of wintertime storms and the majority of the instrumentation performed optimally during this period.