Measurement of snowpack wetness

TitleMeasurement of snowpack wetness
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Conference1975
AuthorsLinlor, W. I., Smith J. L., Meier M. F., Clapp F. C., and Angelakos D.
Conference Name43rd Annual Western Snow Conference
Series TitleProceedings of the 43rd Annual Western Snow Conference
Date PublishedApril 1975
PublisherWestern Snow Conference
Conference LocationCoronado, California
KeywordsSnow radiomicrowave sensing, Snow research programs, Snowpack analysis

This paper describes three electrical methods for measuring wetness of snow: The first is based on the change in capacitance of a sample before and after freezing; the second, on the dielectric loss of a sample in a high-frequency field; and the third, on attenuation of a microwave beam while is is transmitted through the snow. The theoretical basis for these and related systems is presented, together with experimental results. Methods for calibrating the systems are discussed. The microwave system can be operated automatically in remote installations, utilizing satellite telemtry for data gathering. Three Plexiglas towers permit the transmitter (source) and two receivers to make vertical traverses, yielding a wetness profile from the amount of attenuation occurring in the known distance between the receivers. Alternatively, the source can be mounted in a tower, with spaced receivers in the snow, to yield the average wetness of the snowpack.