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Laboratory test of snow wetness influence on electrical conductivity measured with ground penetrating radar
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Land and Water Resources Engineering, Environmental Geochemistry and Ecotechnology.
2009 (English)In: Nordic Hydrology, ISSN 0029-1277, E-ISSN 1996-9694, Vol. 40, no 1, 33-44 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Ground penetrating radar operated from helicopters or snowmobiles is used to determine snow water equivalent (SWE) for annual snowpacks from radar wave two-way travel time. However, presence of liquid water in a snowpack is known to decrease the radar wave velocity, which for a typical snowpack with 5% (by volume) liquid water can lead to an overestimation of SWE by about 20%. It would therefore be beneficial if radar measurements could also be used to determine snow wetness. Our approach is to use radar wave attenuation in the snowpack, which depends on electrical properties of snow (permittivity and conductivity) which in turn depend on snow wetness. The relationship between radar wave attenuation and these electrical properties can be derived theoretically, while the relationship between electrical permittivity and snow wetness follows a known empirical formula, which also includes snow density. Snow wetness can therefore be determined from radar wave attenuation if the relationship between electrical conductivity and snow wetness is also known. In a laboratory test, three sets of measurements were made on initially dry 1m thick snowpacks. Snow wetness was controlled by stepwise addition of water between radar measurements, and a linear relationship between electrical conductivity and snow wetness was established.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 40, no 1, 33-44 p.
Keyword [en]
electrical conductivity, ground penetrating radar, radar wave, attenuation, snow, snow water equivalent, snow wetness, fresnel volume, georadar, density
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-18105DOI: 10.2166/nh.2009.040ISI: 000262450200003ScopusID: 2-s2.0-59349109000OAI: diva2:336151
QC 20100525Available from: 2010-08-05 Created: 2010-08-05 Last updated: 2010-12-22Bibliographically approved

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