NASA

Science
8:23 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Lasers Help Scientists Get a Detailed Picture of the West's Snowpack

A new method of measuring snowpack in mountains in the Western United States uses lasers. This image shows the snow water equivalent (top image) and snow albedo, or reflectivity (bottom image) for the Tuolumne River Basin in California's Sierra Nevada in April of 2013.
Credit www.jpl.nasa.gov

Scientists in Colorado are working to improve runoff forecasting in the West so water managers can meet growing needs in the future. A growing population coupled with climate change means every drop will count. Scientists are mapping terrain and snow with lasers to provide a more accurate picture of the snowpack. It's called the NASA JPL Airborne Snow Observatory. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen spoke with Jeff Deems, a research scientist with the University of Colorado, Boulder. He’s involved with the project.

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Mountain Snowpack
9:04 am
Tue May 21, 2013

Measuring Snowpack for an Increasingly "Thirsty World"

NASA scientists are flying over mountains in Colorado and California. They're using high-tech gadgets to measure snowpack.
Credit NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

A group of scientists are flying over mountains in California and Colorado this spring, measuring snowpack with high-tech gadgets. NASA’s Airborne Snow Observatory mission started last month over the Sierra Nevadas and Southwestern Colorado’s Uncompahgre River Basin. The idea is to measure the snow in a way that’s never been done before, to get an idea of how much water is stored there. Snowpack accounts for 75 % of the Western United States’ freshwater supply. And, as demands for water grow, scientists are working on solutions.

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