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Measurements related to snow can have at least two different purposes:

  • Avalanche research
  • Impact of snow on runoff
  • Snow as a water storage component

The first requires a deeper understanding of the layering of the snow cover and the processes within these layers. More data is needed to gain this understanding. However, this wiki is probably not the place to go into more details.

The layering of the snow is of less importance if we want to understand its impact on runoff generation. We need to know the amount of water stored in the snow cover (snow water equivalents SWE) as well as the energy content of the snow cover to predict the time of melting.


Snow water equivalents are hard to determine because:

  • the spatial distribution is heterogeneous
  • the snow layers have different densities
  • the snow cover needs to be measured in its total thickness.

ToDo add how to do it. Snow height as proxy, snow weight

Energy content is measured through snow temperature in various dephts. The most important information is probably the snow surface temperature, because together with the radiation and the temperature it determines the energy flow between snow cover and atmosphere.


Where do we make the measurements
Hard to answer - should be representative, not exposed (wind carries the snow far), not influenced by tree tops