SNOTEL - Technology to mitigate natural disaster impacts on a watershed basis

TitleSNOTEL - Technology to mitigate natural disaster impacts on a watershed basis
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Conference1998
AuthorsWerner, J. G., Schaefer G. L., and Woodward D.
Conference Name66th Annual Western Snow Conference
Series TitleProceedings of the 66th Annual Western Snow Conference
Date PublishedApril 1998
PublisherWestern Snow Conference
Conference LocationSnowbird, Utah
KeywordsForecasting, SNOTEL, Watershed management

SNOTEL (remote data acquisition technology via meteor burst) has been successfully applied mitigating losses from water and climate related natural disasters by the USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) . Remote SNOTEL sites monitor snow water equivalent of mountain and plains snowpacks, precipitation, air temperature, and soil moisture and temperature. This near real-time information drives predictive analyses (amounts and timing) of seasonal surface water runoff that supplies irrigation and municipalities. Stream flow amounts for fisheries, power generation, river transportation, or flood management are also determined from this data. Recreation and wildlife managers, and building safety engineers rely on this information in making critical design, and management decisions. Decisions are seasonal, event, or emergency based.Non-NRCS resource information is integrated into the analyses for comprehensive understanding of basin, watershed, and effected areas. Results are immediately available by world wide web services, word of mouth in local communities, official reports, news, and by computer access of our data center. Mitigation is achieved: as production is balanced with investments according to the outlooks of the seasonal probability of adequate water supply; advance information about soil moisture shortages or excesses prevent costly mistakes; hourly SNOTEL data monitors critical flood source areas of watersheds during rain or snow, runoff over saturated soils profiles, and extraordinary snowmelt events. Protection of life, property, and sustainable agriculture is the outcome.