Snow measurement predicament


  • Eugene L. Peck


Increased interest in snow and snowmelt runoff has resulted in the need for a better knowledge of snowfall and the water equivalent of snow cover. Present measuring methods have proven valuable for seasonal runoff prediction and other water management requirements in major snow areas. However, more accurate estimates of the actual snowfall and the average areal snow cover are required for detailed water budget and water use studies and for input for the conceptual forecasting models now being developed. The limitations of present measuring systems are analyzed, and guidelines for their usefulness as indices are presented. The basic problems involved in determining more representative values are discussed, and suggestions are given for methods to improve measurements.