In the past it has often been difficult to compare results of different types of snow-structural information. Grain-size and correlation length are such parameters of granular media, and there exist different definitions and different measurement methods for both of them. The relation between these parameters is analyzed from theoretical and from experimental points of view, considering optical and microwave properties. For spherical ice grains the connecting formulas are simple, but for other shapes the two parameters are not directly related. Care must be taken in the measurement procedure. Especially if grain-size is regarded as the maximum extent of connected ice particles, the results are likely to lead to extreme overestimates. Therefore it is concluded that grain-size should be complemented by an additional size parameter, namely, the surface-to-volume ratio of equivalent spheres, i.e.a measure of the correlation length. Methods to determine this quantity in the laboratory have been known for a long time. Methods to obtain such measurements in the field are described here.
The Journal of Glaciology is published six times per year. It accepts submissions from any discipline related to the study of snow and ice. All articles are peer reviewed. The Journal is included in the ISI Science Citation Index.