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A new in situ sensor for large-scale snow-cover monitoring

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A new in situ sensor for the simultaneous measurement of snow water equivalent, snow density and liquid-water content is presented in this paper. The system consists of radio frequency transmission lines of up to 25 m length cast in a flat PVC band, which can be set up either horizontally to monitor single snow-layer properties or sloping from a mast to the soil surface to determine vertical snowpack properties. The dielectric coefficient along the flat-band cable is measured with a time-domain reflectometer at high frequencies, and with a low-frequency impedance analyzer. The performance of the sensor system was tested during two winter seasons (2001–03) at the high-alpine test site Weissfluhjoch, Davos, Switzerland. The cable suspension and set-up of the sloping cable was shown to be critical with regard to stability and the formation of unwanted air gaps along the cable. Overall, the sensing system proved quite robust and produced results in agreement with manual snowpack observations.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2004-01-01

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  • The Annals of Glaciology is a peer-reviewed, thematic journal published 2 to 4 times a year by the International Glaciological Society (IGS). Publication frequency is determined and volume/issue numbers assigned by the IGS Council on a year-to-year basis and with a lead time of 3 to 4 years. The Annals of Glaciology is included in the ISI Science Citation Index from volume 50, number 50 onwards.

    Themes can be on any aspect of the study of snow and ice. Individual members can make a suggestion for a theme for an Annals issue to the Secretary General, who will forward it to the IGS Publications Committee. The IGS Publication Committee will make a recommendation for an individual themed Annals issue, together with a potential Annals Chief Editor for that issue, to IGS Council. The IGS Council will make the decision whether to proceed, taking into account the spread of topics and the overall capacity for publication of pages in Annals.

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