Monday, February 01, 2016
It is airborne snow survey season again
In November 2014 I was spending some time in southern California when a lake effect snow storm brought five to seven feet of snow to portions of the Buffallo New York region. It was through that lake effect snow storm that I first learned of the Airborne Snow Survey Program of NOAA’s National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center (NOHRSC).
As I understand it, airborne snow surveys are done to measure the amount of water contained in a snow packTwo aircraft are used, a Jet Prop Commander and a Rockwell Aero Commander (NOAA has two of these aircraft).
According to the NOHRSC:
The National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center (NOHRSC) has developed, and currently maintains, an operational Airborne Gamma Radiation Snow Survey Program to make airborne Snow Water Equivalent (SWE) and soil moisture measurements. Airborne SWE measurements are used by NWS Weather Forecast Offices (WFO) and NWS River Forecast Centers (RFC) when issuing river and flood forecasts, water supply forecasts, and spring flood outlooks (obtained from http://www.nohrsc.noaa.gov/snowsurvey/ on February 1, 2016)
I first wrote about NOAA’s airborne snow survey program on November 24, 2014 with a follow-up article on February 9, 2015
Perhaps because of the two feet of snow we had in my part of New Jersey on January 23rd, I found myself thinking about the 2015-2016 Airborne Snow Season Survey, so I decided to write this article. If you are interested in historical snow surveys, the NOHRSC has a landing page with links to information on prior year's snow surveys.