Quantifying the dynamics of microtopography during a snowmelt event

Robert J. Barneveld*, Sjoerd E.A.T.M. van der Zee, Jannes Stolte

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Knowledge of soil microtopography and its changes in space and over time is important to the understanding of how tillage influences infiltration, runoff generation and erosion. In this study, the use of a terrestrial laser scanner (TLS) is assessed for its ability to quantify small changes in the soil surface at high spatial resolutions for a relatively large surface area (100 m2). Changes in soil surface morphology during snow cover and melt are driven by frost heave, slaking, pressure exertion by the snowpack and overland flow (erosion and deposition). An attempt is undertaken to link these processes to observed changes at the soil surface. A new algorithm for soil surface roughness is introduced to make optimal use of the raw point cloud. This algorithm is less scale dependent than several commonly used roughness calculations. The results of this study show that TLSs can be used for multitemporal scanning of large surfaces and that small changes in surface elevation and roughness can be detected. Statistical analysis of the observed changes against terrain indices did not yield significant evidence for process differentiation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2544-2556
JournalEarth Surface Processes and Landforms
Issue number13
Early online date8 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019


  • frost heave
  • microtopography
  • snowmelt
  • soil roughness
  • terrestrial laser scanner


Dive into the research topics of 'Quantifying the dynamics of microtopography during a snowmelt event'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this