Snow Varies

2017 ~ Present

Snow Varies


The goals for the project are 1) intensive field campaigns to collect data over large areas, 2) technology development, and 3) analysis and modeling of snow covered systems. Measurement will initially focus on surface mapping for understanding roughness (e.g., Fassnacht et al., 2014), depth mapping through snow on and snow off surveys, and estimating near surface snowpack properties, such as density, temperature, and crystal morphology.

Issues Involved or Addressed

More than one billion people (60 million alone in the Western United States) rely on snowmelt for their main water source (Barnett et al., 2005). Better mapping of the distribution of snow would improve water resources forecasting and management. Satellite-derived estimates of snowpack properties are either at a coarse spatial resolution (e.g., daily 25-km snow water equivalent or SWE from SSM/I and AMSR-E) or coarse temporal resolution (e.g., 16-day 30-m snow covered area from Landsat TM). This project collects data over large areas to be used for ground-truthing of current and remote sensing imagery, and for the development of future sensors and snowpack products.

Methods and Technologies

  • Traditional measurement techniques
  • New sensor technology
  • Computer modeling
  • Re-analysis of existing datasets

Academic Majors of Interest

  • Natural Resources
  • Computer Science
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Civil Engineering

Preferred Interests and Preparation

Everyone who relies on snowmelt for their main water source.

Team Advisors