Item: Snow characterization by optical properties
Title: Snow characterization by optical properties
Proceedings: International Snow Science Workshop, Davos 2009, Proceedings
Authors: Mathias Gergely, Martin Schneebeli and Kurt Roth, WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF, Davos, Switzerland, Institute of Environmental Physics, University of Heidelberg, Germany
Abstract: Snow optics offers an opportunity to measure physical properties of a vertical snow profile or a snow surface by unbiased, high-resolution and time-saving scientific methods. Thus, optical measurements could play an important role in various areas of interest to the snow science community, snow sports industry and recreational snow enthusiasts. Snowpack stability strongly depends on the distribution of ice mass inside the snow cover, hence on density and snow microstructure. Grain size, density and soot content impact energy transfer within the snowpack, since fine-grained snow reflects more incident radiation, while higher density and soot content imply a stronger absorption of radiation within the same snow volume. Furthermore, snow grain size and density contribute significantly to the gliding characteristics of a ski as those properties determine the contact area and thus friction at the ski-snow surface interface. We will give a summary of the theory behind measuring optical snow properties and stress major points of interest. Current methods for quantifying grain size will be presented. We also demonstrate the possibility to deduce snow density from optical measurements.
Keywords: optical properties, reflectance, transmittance, grain size, density
Digital Abstract Not Available