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Last Modified 2004-08-18




PIEKTUK Blowing Snow Model




Welcome to the Piektuk homepage! This page is designed to provide a brief introduction to the Piektuk blowing snow model, and to provide some technical details about the model and its operation. Piektuk (an Inuktituk word for blowing snow) was developed at York University in 1995/96 by Stephen Déry and Jingbing Xiao under the supervision of Peter A. Taylor. Subsequently, the model was modified by Stephen Déry and M. K. Yau at McGill University. The main purpose of the model was to obtain the transport and sublimation rates of a column of blowing snow. Hence, the impacts of blowing snow to the surface mass balance can be easily derived.


A number of versions of the Piektuk model exist. The original Piektuk model was spectral in nature, i.e. had multiple size bins for blowing snow particles of varying radii (Déry et al., 1998). Apart from the particle number frequencies, the ambient air temperature and humidity were also prognosed by the model.

To reduce the computational demands of the spectral model, Déry and Yau (1999) produced a bulk version of the Piektuk model. This version has three prognostic equations, one for the ambient air temperature, a second for the specific humidity, and a third for the blowing snow mixing ratio. To make the model more realistic, Déry and Yau (2001a) then added another equation for the total particle numbers of blowing snow, yielding a double-moment version of the model. This version has been employed to derive a parametrization of the blowing snow sublimation rate. The double-moment model has also been modified to a subroutine and coupled to a mesoscale model (MC2 model) for the simulation of an Arctic ground blizzard (Déry and Yau, 2001b).

Technical Details and Access to the Code

Technical details on the Piektuk blowing snow model can be found on this page.

Generally, we grant access to the code under two conditions:

  1. that it is used solely for research purposes (and not commercial activities) and
  2. that proper acknowledgement of references be made in any publication that is based on PIEKTUK results.


The Piektuk blowing snow model has great potential such as the possible following applications:

  • Real-time forecasting of blowing snow
  • Investigation of the optical visibility during blowing snow
  • Simulation of sediment transport (sand, dust, etc.)
  • Modeling of sea spray and its evaporation
  • Two-phase flow interactions
  • The impact of blowing snow on katabatic winds
  • Snow transport into leads and polynyas
  • Snow drift formation around buildings and other obstacles