Continuous monitoring of the temporal evolution of the snowpack using upward-looking ground penetrating radar technology


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Olaf.Eisen [ at ] awi.de

Abstract

Snow stratigraphy and water percolation are key parameters in avalanche forecasting. It is, however, difficult to model or measure stratigraphy and water flow in a sloping snowpack. Numerical modeling results depend highly on the type and availability of input data and the parameterization of the physical processes. Furthermore, the sensors themselves may influence the snowpack or be destroyed due to snow gliding and avalanches. Radar technology allows non-destructive scanning of the snowpack and deducing internal snow properties. If the radar system is buried in the ground, it cannot be destroyed by avalanche impacts or snow creep. During the winter seasons 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 we recorded continuous data with upward-looking pulsed radar systems (upGPR) at two test sites. We demonstrate that it is possible to determine the snow height with an accuracy comparable to conventional snow depth measuring devices. We determined the bulk volumetric liquid water content and tracked the position of the first stable wetting front. Wet-snow avalanche activity increased, when melt water penetrated deeper into the snowpack.



Item Type
Conference (Conference paper)
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Not peer-reviewed
Publication Status
Published
Event Details
SEG-AGU Joint Workshop on Cryosphere Geophysics: Understanding a Changing Climate with Subsurface Imaging, 06 Jan 2013 - 08 Jan 2013, Boised ID, U.S.A..
Eprint ID
43161
Cite as
Schmid, L. , Mitterer, C. , Heilig, A. , Schweizer, J. , Maurer, H. and Eisen, O. (2013): Continuous monitoring of the temporal evolution of the snowpack using upward-looking ground penetrating radar technology , SEG-AGU Joint Workshop on Cryosphere Geophysics: Understanding a Changing Climate with Subsurface Imaging, Boised ID, U.S.A., 6 January 2013 - 8 January 2013 .


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