Data Analysis of the Snow Pack Analyzing System Tested by UCAR

TitleData Analysis of the Snow Pack Analyzing System Tested by UCAR
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Conference2013
AuthorsHeggli, Anne
Conference Name81st Annual Western Snow Conference
Series TitleProceedings of the Western Snow Conference
Date Published2013
Conference LocationJackson Hole, Wyoming
Keywordsliquid water, snow pack, Snow water equivalent, SWE

Snow pack measurements can be costly to perform and generally provide only snow water equivalent (SWE) and snow depth from which density can be calculated and the onset of snow melt can be estimated. A new automatic snow pack analyzing system designed by Sommer Systemtechnik in Koblach, Austria has developed new technology to measure snow pack characteristics. The instrument is an automatic in-situ measurement system that determines the percentage of liquid water and ice by measuring the “complex” impedance from which SWE is determined. However, the liquid water content as a percentage is a value that has never been able to be measured before.

This Snow Pack Analyzing system or SPA system, as it is referred to, was installed at the (University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) Test Field site in March of 2012 where it could be collocated and compared to conventional snow tube and snow pillow measurements. This manuscript will describe the measurement principal of the SPA system as well as the parameters that can be derived, including indicators to help improve the prediction of snow melt. Preliminary results from the UCAR Test Field site installation comparing the SPA system to both the snow tube and snow pillow measurement will also be presented. It is reasonable to conclude the SPA system can be a valuable addition to existing snow melt forecasting schemes.