Measuring Snowpack

NASA and the NOAA are in the experimental stages of measuring snowpack from space.

Currently, there are people who go out once a month to manually measure the snowpack. But, using the new technology from space, the readings would be much more accurate.

The two organizations have chosed Colorado as a test site because, they say, it offers a broad terrain.

The equipment is measuring how much radiation comes out of the earth through the snow. A radar gun shoots radiation into the snow and reads what bounces back. The amount of signal that comes back gives insight into the snow's characteristics. Scientists can tell not only
how deep it is, but also how much moisture is in it.

If the measurements are taken from space, researchers would have global snow measurements on a regular basis.

NOAA says its goal is to have an experimental satellite up in ten years to read snowpack all over the world. That would allow cities to plan for the amount of moisture they will be getting from the snow.


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