Studying snowdrifting problems with small-scale models outdoors

TitleStudying snowdrifting problems with small-scale models outdoors
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Conference1980
AuthorsTabler, R. D., and Jairell R. L.
Conference Name48th Annual Western Snow Conference
Series TitleProceedings of the 48th Annual Western Snow Conference
Date PublishedApril 1980
PublisherWestern Snow Conference
Conference LocationLaramie, Wyoming
KeywordsBlowing snow, Model studies, Snow control, Snow deposition, Snow fences, Snow management, Snowdrifts

Drifts formed by snow fences are geometrically scaled in proportion to fence height. This observation led us to try using small scale models outdoors (on lake ice) to study snow deposition and erosion, thereby circumventing many of the well-known problems associated with simulating blowing snow in wind tunnels and water flumes. This paper briefly summarizes the theory of natural scaling and presents examples of successful outdoor modeling of snowdrifts formed by topographic features, guard rails, buildings, surface roughness, and snow fences on modeled terrain. Practical aspects of outdoor modeling are discussed, including advantages and disadvantages, site selection and preparation, selection of model scale, methods of model construction, weather requirements, and measuring techniques.