The permeability of temperate snow: Preliminary links to microstructure

TitleThe permeability of temperate snow: Preliminary links to microstructure
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Conference1993
AuthorsHardy, J. P., and Albert D. G.
Conference Name61st Annual Western Snow Conference
Series TitleProceedings of the 61st Annual Western Snow Conference
Date PublishedJune 1993
PublisherWestern Snow Conference
Conference LocationQuebec City, Quebec
KeywordsPermeability, Snow structure

The intrinsic permeability of snow is an important parameter controlling meltwater flux through a snowpack and snowpack ventilation. Few measurements have been made on the permeability of seasonal snow covers, particularly in temperate zones where ice layers have an important control on the permeability. The purpose of this research was to correlate field measurements of permeability with physical properties of snow.Throughout the 1992-93 winter season, field measurements were made, using an air permeameter, to determine the permeability of different snow types in northern Vermont. Concurrent with the permeability measurements, the physical properties of each stratigraphic layer were measured and samples for microstructural analysis were collected.Permeability values ranged from 3 to 75 x 10-10 sq m and agreed with previously published data. No correlation was found between field-measured physical properties and snow permeability. Stereologic parameters for dry snow correlated well with permeability, but for old snow, especially ice layers, the correlation was poor.