The Science of Snow: Digging for Data

  • Released Wednesday, May 17th, 2023
  • Updated Thursday, May 18th, 2023 at 2:23PM
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It takes a lot of field work in challenging conditions to gather important snow data. This is the story of NASA’s last SnowEx campaign and those who participated in it. In March, scientists traveled to research sites in the northern tundra and in Fairbanks, Alaska. Ground crews looked to validate data collected from airborne instruments, while the flight crews continued collecting snow data in order to see what instruments best measure snow globally. The goal for SnowEx is to determine the best remote-sensing techniques for a potential future satellite. Snow data is extremely important and can tell us things like how much spring runoff can be expected, which is vital for water resource management.

Music credit: “Atmospheres” “Big Ocean Small World” “Avalanches” and “Machine Melody” from Universal Production Music

Isis Brangers on the coldest day of the campaign in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Isis Brangers on the coldest day of the campaign in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Hans Lieven operating the tower radar instrument in Creamer's Field Farmer's Loop reserach site in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Hans Lieven operating the tower radar instrument in Creamer's Field Farmer's Loop reserach site in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Batu Osmanoglu aboard the SnowEx aircraft in Alaska.

Batu Osmanoglu aboard the SnowEx aircraft in Alaska.

Wyatt Reis recordng measurements at a snow pit near Fairbanks, Alaska.

Wyatt Reis recordng measurements at a snow pit near Fairbanks, Alaska.

Dr. Kelly Elder between dig sites.

Dr. Kelly Elder between dig sites.

30,000 feet above the ground crews aboard the SnowEx aircraft.

30,000 feet above the ground crews aboard the SnowEx aircraft.

The surrounding area of a snow pit near Fairbanks, Alaska.

The surrounding area of a snow pit near Fairbanks, Alaska.

Naheem Adebisi recording magnaprobe measurements around a snow pit.

Naheem Adebisi recording magnaprobe measurements around a snow pit.

Naheem Adebisi operating the magnaprobe near Fairbanks, Alaska.

Naheem Adebisi operating the magnaprobe near Fairbanks, Alaska.

Karina Zikan operating a magnaprobe around a snow pit.

Karina Zikan operating a magnaprobe around a snow pit.

The view from the aircraft operating the SWISARR instrument.

The view from the aircraft operating the SWISARR instrument.



Credits

Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center


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