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Fieldwork 2014

Snowpack Field Measurements for Practitioners and Modelers

January 7-9, 2014

Fraser Experimental Forest

Fraser, Colorado

Course Concept:

As our ability to characterize and model the hydrologic regime in snow-dominated ecosystems continues to improve, there is a parallel need to make meaningful and accurate measurements of snowpack properties to drive and validate our results. Snowpack properties are needed for hydrological models, ground truth for remotely sensed data, ecological models, avalanche forecasting, and a wide variety of other applications. There are two important user groups that are dependent on both high-quality measurements and an understanding of what those measurements actually mean and represent in the real world. Practitioners often collect and use field data for their own purposes. Modelers and remote sensers often obtain the snowpack data from field practitioners or other researchers, but have little knowledge o meaning or richness of the data they are using beyond the basics (e.g. snow depth, mean density, etc.). This course aimed at teaching skills to practitioners and modelers to increase the quality of the results for all snow data users. The course introduced students to standard and specialized, quantitative and qualitative, methods of characterizing the snowpack.


  • Kelly Elder, PhD, Research Hydrologist, RMRS, US Forest Service
  • Banning Starr, MS, Ecologist and Site Manager, Fraser Experimental Forest

Content Covered:

  • Snow pit evacuation and preparation
  • Density measurements and profiles
  • Snow temperature profiles, surface and air temperatures
  • Stratigraphy and layering
  • Grain type identification, characterization, and size
  • And many more!
Attachment Size
Snow School 2014 Syllabus 1.1 KB
Snow School 2014 Summary 1.1 KB