Putting the capital ‘A’ in CoCoRAHS: an experimental programme to measure albedo using the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow (CoCoRaHS) Network

Authors

  • Elizabeth Burakowski,

    Corresponding author
    1. Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH, USA
    • Department of Earth Sciences, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH, USA
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  • Cameron P. Wake,

    1. Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH, USA
    2. Department of Earth Sciences, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH, USA
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  • Jack E. Dibb,

    1. Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH, USA
    2. Department of Earth Sciences, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH, USA
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  • Mary Stampone

    1. New Hampshire State Climate Office, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH, USA
    2. Department of Geography, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH, USA
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Correspondence to: Elizabeth Burakowski, Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH, USA.

E-mail: ean2@unh.edu

Abstract

The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow (CoCoRaHS) Network is a community-based network of weather observers and the largest provider of daily precipitation observations in the USA. In this study, we embrace the CoCoRaHS mission to use low-cost measurement tools, provide training and education, and utilize an interactive website to create the first volunteer snow albedo network to collect high-quality albedo data for research and education applications. We trained a sub-set of 18 CoCoRaHS observers in the state of New Hampshire to collect albedo, snow depth, and snow density between 23 November 2011 and 15 March 2012. At less than $700 per observer, CoCoRAHS data measured using an Apogee MP-200 pyranometer fall within ±0.05 of albedo values collected from a Kipp and Zonen CMA6 at local solar noon. CoCoRAHS values range from 0.99 for fresh snow to 0.34 for shallow, aged snow. Snow-free albedo ranges from 0.09 to 0.39, depending on the underlying ground cover. In the 2011/2012 dataset, albedo increases logarithmically with snow depth and decreases linearly with snow density. The latter relationship is inferred to be a proxy for increasing snow grain size as snowpack ages and compacts, supported by spectral albedo measurements collected with an Analytical Spectral Devices FieldSpec 4 spectrometer. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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