MKT Library

Saturday is Sexy… Sunday is Movies Night

How to predict an avalanche with radar and GPS

By Nsikan Akpan 24 April 2015 3:00 am

SIMON DESMARAIS/FLICKR/CREATIVE COMMONS

Two things dictate a pending avalanche: Liquid water content in the snow permits slippage, while the height of the powder against the mountain slope creates the pressure for the tumble. For years, scientists have tried to measure these characteristics using infrared scanners or satellites, but these tools work best for large flat areas, such as with melting Arctic sea ice. Expensive laser or ultrasonic sensors on poles can accurately measure snow height, but these fragile devices are easily destroyed or shifted by snow movement on steep slopes. Plus it’s dangerous to jab probes directly into snowpacks in places where loose powder sits ready to plummet. So a team of researchers devised a hands-off way to monitor avalanche-prone peaks on Weissfluhjoch mountain near Davos, Switzerland. Over the course of two consecutive summers (2012 and 2013), they buried a small, upward-facing radar dish and a GPS antenna into the mountain dirt before the winter snows arrived. When the storms hit, they found that the radar could gauge snow height, while interference of the GPS signal provided a readout on liquid water content. Combining the two technologies paralleled the accuracy of laser recordings and other conventional snowpack measurements, the team reports this month in Geophysical Research Letters. The technique also gave daily updates of the melt-freeze cycles in the snow, which could prove useful for predicting possible flash floods.

Source: Science Mag

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Information

This entry was posted on April 29, 2015 by in General and tagged , , , , , , .

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 301 other followers

Follow MKT Library on WordPress.com
ultimatemindsettoday

A great WordPress.com site

Caz the Comic Strip

Cartoon strip about Caz and her family

candidscience.wordpress.com/

Don't just read the news, understand it!

Coffee Conversations

Official blog of Zurairi AR: Journo, researcher, humanist, father.

CHOUETT

Read it! 📖 Spark it! ✨

mesopotamia4ever

Everything on Mesopotamia, Modern Iraq, and Global Art

The Hitchhiking Postdoc

A guide to chemical biology and to the mind of a hitchhiking postdoc

TechCrunch

Startup and Technology News

Scrub Physics

Writings on science, technology, economics, and rationality

seepurple

illuminate

Snapzu Science

We blog the best science & space posts as submitted and voted on by the Snapzu community! Invites available!

ScienceQ publishing Group

Blog of scienceQ publishing Group

Duke Energy Nuclear Information Center

A glimpse into the world of nuclear energy

Sparkonit

Science - Simplified

Métaphysicien

My encounters with Cosmology

%d bloggers like this: