Equipped with specialized lasers and GPS technology, scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research are working with institutions including the University of Colorado Boulder to solve a critical wintertime weather mystery: how to accurately measure the amount of snow on the ground.
Transportation crews, water managers, and others who make vital safety decisions need precise measurements of how snow depth varies across wide areas. But traditional measuring devices such as snow gauges or yardsticks often are inadequate for capturing snow totals that can vary even within a single field or neighborhood.
Now scientists are finding that prototype devices that use light pulses, satellite signals, and other technologies offer the potential to almost instantly measure large areas of snow. In time, such devices might even provide a global picture of snow depth.
Scientists deploy lasers, GPS to measure snow
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