Variability in Soil Moisture by Natural and Artificial Snow: A Case Study in Mt. Balwang Area, Gangwon-do, South Korea

Yalalt Nyamgerel, Hyejung Jung, Dong Chan Koh, Kyung Seok Ko, Jeonghoon Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Soil moisture is an important variable for understanding hydrological processes, and the year-round monitoring of soil moisture and temperature reflect the variations induced by snow cover and its melt. Herein, we monitored the soil moisture and temperature in high (two sites) and low (two sites) elevation regions with groundwater sampling near the Mt. Balwang area in Gangwon-do, South Korea from Sep 2020 to May 2021. This study aims to investigate the temporal and spatial variations in soil moisture and temperature due to snow (natural and artificial snow) and its melt. A ski resort has been operating in this area and has been producing artificial snow during winter periods; thus, the spring snowmelt comprises both natural and artificial snow. The effect of soil freezing and thawing, wind conditions, vegetation covers, the timing and intensity of snow cover and snowmelt were differed in the monitoring sites. The high elevation sites 1 and 2 exhibit the relatively longer and consistent snow cover than the low elevation sites. Particularly, site 2 show late (May 8) snow melting even this site is in south slope of the Mt. Balwang. The relatively steady and moist soil layers at sites 1, 2, and 3 during the warm period can be considered as influential points to groundwater recharge. Moreover, the differences between the mean δ18O (−9.89‰) of the artificial snow layers and other samples were low: in the order of surface water (0.04‰) >groundwater (−0.66 and −1.01‰) >natural snow (1.34 and −3.80‰). This indicates that the imprint of artificial snow derived from surface water and with decreasing amount of natural snow around the Mt. Balwang region, the results support the assumption that the potential influence of artificial snowmelt on groundwater quality. This study helps to understand the snow dynamic and its influence on the hydrological processes in this region by combining the hydro-chemical and isotopic analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number786356
JournalFrontiers in Earth Science
Volume9
DOIs
StatePublished - 5 Jan 2022

Keywords

  • artificial snow
  • snow
  • snowmelt
  • soil moisture
  • soil temperature

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