View Full Version : Measuring snowfall

Steve M
10-27-2007, 09:57 AM
I know the task of accurately measuring snowfall can be somewhat difficult under average conditions, but what about under extreme conditions faced on a regular basis on the summit? How do you go about getting accurate measurements?

Bill O
10-27-2007, 12:23 PM
You're right. Its particularly difficult on Mount Washington, but not very high tech.

They simply use their precip can (is it 8 inches?) to measure snow. Every six hours they retrieve the can and measure the snow depth with a ruler. Averaging about ten measurements. That's it.

Is it accurate? I know they have done several experiments on this comparing locations and techniques and this seems to provide the best results. At the very least its consistent.

Steve M
10-27-2007, 03:20 PM
What I think about with the precip can is it works great when the wind isn't blowing at 80 - 100 mph but when it is it wouldn't catch as much much snow, which is the case in exposed areas. Then again you could make that same assumption for the entire summit. Sheltered areas are no better because of the winds dynamics around structures and low spots. As those areas are mixed with drifted snow as well. I guess all you can do is the best you can do and like you say, consistency over time is as valuable or maybe more valuable that a precise amount, thought that would be the ultimate ideal.