Acoustic Measurement of Snow
Instrumentation commonly used to measure snowpack stratigraphy, snow density, Snow Water Equivalent (SWE), temperature and liquid water content is usually invasive and requires disruption of the snowpack. Most measurement techniques modify the snow medium and more than one sample cannot be taken at the same location. This does not permit continuous monitoring of these parameters using a single measurement instrument. An acoustic wave sent into the snowpack was used to measure snow. To provide the theory required to make acoustic measurements, the Biot-Stoll model of sound wave propagation in porous media was modified using a mixture theory so that it was applicable to a multiphase porous medium. The combined model is called the Unified Thermoacoustic Model (UTAM) for snow. An acoustic measurement device, the System for the Acoustic Sensing of Snow (SAS2), was designed to send sound waves into snow and to receive the reflected sound waves using a loudspeaker and a microphone array. A stationary version of the SAS2 was deployed on a met station and a portable version of the SAS2 was placed on a roving ski-based platform. The systems were deployed at field sites in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, Alberta. The results showed that the SAS2 was able to measure snow density, temperature, and liquid water content and serve as a replacement technology for snowtube and snowpit measurements. Snow density was estimated more accurately by the SAS2 than from commonly-used snow tube techniques.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
DepartmentGeography and Planning
SupervisorPomeroy, John W.
CommitteeDegenstein, Doug A.; Guo, Xulin; Marsh, Phil; Si, Bing
Copyright DateDecember 2013