NASA airborne campaign records drift of the snow water

This is an exciting time of the year. It is the time when NASA’s SnowEx campaign hits skies as well as ground of world’s snowy places through measuring the snow properties to be able to understand how much the water is usually contained by every winter’s snowfall. Snow is the crucial source of water for the purpose of drinking, electrical power as well as agriculture in the Western United States as well as other locations globally. To be able to know how much the water is going to available in the coming spring, the water resource managers, as well as hydrologists, need to a deeper understanding where the snow has fallen, how are the properties change as it melts as well as how much there is. 

Measuring the snow water equivalent or the SWE gets to tell them the quantity of water is found within the snowpack. NASA does not have any global satellite mission to be able to track as well as study the SWE. The SnowEx’s airborne measurements, the ground measurements, as well as computer modeling, are currently paving the way for the future development of the global snow satellite mission. Here are a few things that they will pay attention to in the 2020 campaign. 

In the air:

Snow is quite challenging to measure as its characteristics change with regard on what terrain it does fall on, or even how deep it is as well as whether it is melting. There is no single tool or even measurement that can be able to measure all the types of snow of all time; the team went on to say. Carrie Vuyovich, who is a research professional at the Goddard Space Flight Center that is located in the Greenbelt, Maryland, as well as the SnowEx deputy project scientist for 2020’s, said that the snow climate classes could group research gaps in the snow remote sensing, the snow in forests. Tundra snow, the snow in the maritime areas as well as by how much the snow evolves over a period. 

Various snow characteristics affect measurements differently. Tracking the snow water that is equivalent across season helps the hydrologists, & water resource managers, need to understand and know what water is available when it does melt in spring and plan for possible floods & droughts. The SnowEx airborne campaign is going to fly radar as well as (light detection and ranging) lidar  to be able to measure snow depth, radiometers as well as microwave radar to be able to measure SWE, the optical cameras to photograph surface, the infrared radiometers to measure the surface temperature as well as hyperspectral imagers to document the snow cover as well as composition easily. 


Ryszard Stopczyk

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