Snow Water

A block of snow can be evaluated a bit like a tree with its rings. Sequences of snowfall events accumulate snow on top of each other and put pressure on existing layers that maybe already developed a crust from sun exposure. Old layers might have already started to melt and changed from champagne powder that off-piste skiers seek to slushy mixes of ice crystals and water.

National Avalanche Services developed physical models that try to keep track of the energy influxes and outputs in a system approach, but up to this day, field trips and manual sample collections are essential for them.

Our model to generate snow densities and therefore snow-water-equivalents (SWE) is based on an empirical approach with an estimated RMSE of 53 kg/m2. It leaves out the many details mentioned above but rather gives a general estimation at larger scales, in order to derive the one parameter most valuable for hydropower plants, the amount of water they can expect from snow melt.

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