Comparison of two methods for remote measurement of snow depth

TitleComparison of two methods for remote measurement of snow depth
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Conference1990
AuthorsTanner, B. D., and Gaza B.
Conference Name58th Annual Western Snow Conference
Series TitleProceedings of the 58th Annual Western Snow Conference
Date PublishedApril 1990
PublisherWestern Snow Conference
Conference LocationSacramento, California
KeywordsAcoustic snow sensor, Snow depth, Snow measurements, Snow temperature

Hourly snow depth and snowpack temperatures were measured in the Wasatch Mountains of northern Utah over the winter of 1988-89. Measurements were retrieved remotely via a radio frequency link. A commercial acoustic sensor originally developed by Atmospheric Environment Service, Canada (Goodison, et al., 1988) was used for the snow depth measurements. A thermocouple (TC) string constructed to minimize heat transfer along the TC wires was used to measure temperatures in a profile at 10 cm spacings.The acoustic sensor performed well but disagreement with manual readings was often greater than the manufacturer's rated accuracy of +/-1 cm. New low density snow was sometimes underestimated. Snow depths estimated from the maximum daily temperature difference observed at a given height were generally within 1-2 TC spacings. The effects of heat conducted from the air to the TC junctions is evident in the measurements of the upper portion of the pack.