Snow Monitoring Systems

We have worked with ski resorts, cabin owners, architects, and engineers to select and design many different types of snow monitoring systems. There are only a few options to monitor and record snow level or snow water equivalent data. End users and researchers in remote locations often need a system to report or alarm weather and snow conditions. Below we have listed the systems and sensors we recommend. Please contact us for a no obligation consultation.

Snow Depth

Snow depth is most often measured using an ultrasonic or radar sensor. The sensor is placed on an arm outstretched over the area to be monitored and the signal of the sensor is bounced off the snow surface. This type of system is used very frequently in reporting snow levels at ski resorts and high mountain areas that require this type of information. We have worked with cabin owners and winter resorts to provide systems that alert resort or homeowners to the presence of snow, and also for ski resorts to report on snow totals and snow status for maintenance and as a marketing tool to inform skiers of the snow depth and new snowfall.

We currently maintain two stations at local ski resort and use the data from the sensors to update a web page. These types of systems can report data to the web, send text or email reports or have a local PC display the data.

We have installed these types of systems at other locations. Examples would be Alpine Ski Resort and Dodge Ridge Ski Resort. Both use similar equipment and use the data for operations and marketing purposes.

Snow Making

We offer complete weather monitoring stations that will report to you when the appropriate snow making conditions are met.

The wet bulb temperature is a function of the dry bulb temperature and the relative humidity, the amount of water vapor in the air. Liquid or solid water cools itself by evaporating some water as water vapor. This releases heat, and so lowers the energy level in the water. When there is more water vapor in the atmosphere, water or snow can’t evaporate as much because the air is already saturated with water to a high degree. Consequently, water cools more slowly when the humidity is high, and more quickly when the humidity is low.

For this reason, humidity is a very important factor in determining snow conditions. If the humidity level is low enough, you can actually get snow even when the temperature is several degrees above freezing. If the relative humidity is 100 percent, then you might get rain instead of snow, even if the temperature is slightly below freezing.

If the temperature is around 30° F (-1° C), you need a fairly low relative humidity (less than 30%) for good snow-making conditions. If the temperature is less than 20° F (-6.7° C), you can make snow fairly easily even if the relative humidity is 100%. A temperature in the teens is ideal for snow-making.

Snow-making, while usually used at ski areas, is also used for frost protection on construction projects, freeze protection of crops, automotive and aircraft testing, and sewage disposal.

RTMC ProData Collection Software

We can transmit and display this data in real-time to a maintenance shop or managers office.

Our systems are also compatible with most SCADA or PLC systems and can be interfaced into these systems to provide this data to managers.

Avalanche Warning – Instruments for Cold Region Monitoring and Research

From single stations to large networks, Campbell Scientific’s automated weather stations provide real-time weather and snow depth data to those assessing avalanche potential. These systems see use in and around ski areas, winter recreation areas, mountain towns, major highways, and other critical infrastructure.

Long-term, unattended station operation is achieved with low-power use, batteries and solar panels, wireless data retrieval, and large onboard data storage capacity. Fitted with snow depth sensors or attached to custom snow condition sensors, weather stations report snow conditions and meteorological conditions 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Sensors

Almost any sensor can be measured by Campbell Scientific dataloggers, allowing stations to be customized for each site. Typical sensors used with these weather stations include, but are not limited to: Relative humidity, solar radiation, wind speed and direction, air temperature, water temperature, soil temperature, precipitation, snow depth, barometric pressure, and soil moisture, as well as strain gauges, accelerometers, pressure transducers, GPS receivers, linear potentiometers, and many more.

Data Retrieval

We offer multiple communications options for data retrieval, allowing stations to meet exact needs. Telecommunication options include radio frequency, satellite (Argos, GOES, Inmarsat-C), telephone (landline, voice-synthesized, cellular), short-haul, and multidrop. On-site options include storage module, laptop computer, and datalogger keyboard/display. Robust error-checking and low-power use ensure your data arrives uncorrupted and as scheduled. We can even help you post your data to the Internet.

Software

Campbell Scientific’s Windows-based software simplifies datalogger programming, data retrieval, and report generation. The datalogger program can be modified at any time to accommodate different sensor configurations or new data processing requirements.

Related Link: Utah Avalanche Center

Snow Water Equivalency

Many researchers and resource managers want to record snow water data. This can be a difficult proposition in remote areas. We offer a few options to assist in collecting snow precipitation data.

Heated Rain Gauge

Many rain gauges can have an optional heater installed to melt the snow as it enters the funnel; this will create a tip or add weight to the container and the data is recorded as standard rain type data. This is a very useful option, but there are some drawbacks. A heated rain gauge requires a fairly large amount of power. Most heated rain gauges are installed where there is AC power available. We do offer battery (DC powered) systems, but they require large batteries and solar panels to operate effectively.

CS725 Snow Water Equivalent Sensor (replaces the need for snow pillows)

The CS725 measures snow-water equivalent (SWE) by passively detecting the change in naturally occurring electromagnetic energy from the ground after it passes through snow cover. It is mounted above the ground and has no contact with the snow. As the snow pack increases, the sensor detects the attenuation of the electromagnetic energy from the ground, and SWE can be calculated. The measurement area of the CS725 is 50 to 100 square meters (540 to 1,075 square feet), making it an excellent replacement sensor for the traditional snow pillow and snow scale.

CS725 Benefits and Features
  • Performance not affected by rain or snow fall
  • Effective with any type of snow or ice
  • Excellent replacement for traditional snow-pillow sensors
  • Non-contact measurement
  • Does not cause the melting of light snow
  • Greatly reduces the need for site visits
  • No site preparation or earthworks required for setup
  • 5-10 times the measurement area of the nearest competitor
  • Not affected by snow bridging
  • Will not cause snow drifting
  • Seven-year maintenance cycle
  • No antifreeze chemicals used (i.e., glycol)
CS725 Brochure