As spring and summer temperatures return to the Northern Hemisphere, winter’s snow is melting, releasing precious fresh water into Earth’s streams, rivers and oceans.
This annual change provides liquid water for drinking, agriculture and hydropower for more than one billion people around the world. In the future, NASA plans to use a satellite mission to measure how much water the world’s winter snowpack contains, and to do that, they need to know what combination of instruments and techniques will efficiently measure this information from space.
NASA’s SnowEx campaign is a multiyear effort using a variety of techniques to study snow characteristics, and the team completed their second field campaign in March 2020. SnowEx is learning valuable information about how snow properties change by terrain and over time, and they are also investigating the tools, datasets, and techniques NASA will need to sample snow from space.
“This winter’s SnowEx campaign collected valuable data for assessing multiple snow rmote sensing techniques. It would not have been possible without the hard work and support of all the participants and partners who helped,” said Carrie Vuyovich, SnowEx 2020 deputy project scientist, lead scientist for NASA’s Terrestrial Hydrology Snow program and a physical scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
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Image via NASA Goddard Space Flight Center