Gus Goodbody and John Fitzgerald are standing in a snow pit checking snow density high within Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. The snow depth is about 2.2 meters.
Click on image for full size
Courtesy of CLPX NASA Land Surface Hydrology Program
Super Scientists Study Snow!
News story originally written on February 21, 2003
Snow is fun! It can be made into snowballs or snow angels and can even cause school to be cancelled. Many scientists think that snow is pretty interesting too. This week, scientists and college students began a project to take a look at the snow in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains from many different points of view - from the ground, from the air, and even from space!
This project includes many scientists and students from federal agencies, like NASA and NOAA, and many universities. They hope that their project will help us better understand areas on Earth where water is frozen during the cold winter months, or all year long. This may help to improve water supply forecasts for communities, which depend on river water, most of which comes from melting mountain snow. It may also allow scientists to better predict dangerous snowmelt floods that happen in the spring as the snow melts. The research project will also study how snow cover affects other parts of the Earth’s weather and climate.
During this project, scientists will try to figure out the best way to study snow from above. Four aircraft and NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites will gather snow data from Colorado’s Rocky Mountains by sensing what’s below. Scientists will compare data collected from the ground with data collected from the sky to understand whether the satellite data is accurate. Hopefully, their research will help design better sensors so that someday we can, from space, measure the amount of snow and frozen ground around the world!
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
on science education, classroom activities in The Earth Scientist
specimens, and educational games
You might also be interested in:
Rivers are very important to Earth because they are major forces that shape the landscape. Also, they provide transportation and water for drinking, washing and farming. Rivers can flow on land or underground...more
It was another exciting and frustrating year for the space science program. It seemed that every step forward led to one backwards. Either way, NASA led the way to a great century of discovery. Unfortunately,...more
The Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off from Kennedy Space Center on October 29th at 2:19 p.m. EST. The weather was great as Discovery took 8 1/2 minutes to reach orbit. This was the United States' 123rd...more
A moon was discovered orbiting the asteroid, Eugenia. This is only the second time in history that a satellite has been seen circling an asteroid. A special mirror allowed scientists to find the moon...more
Will Russia ever put the service module for the International Space Station in space? NASA officials want an answer from the Russian government. The necessary service module is currently waiting to be...more
A coronal mass ejection (CME) happened on the Sun early last month. The material that was thrown out from this explosion passed the ACE spacecraft. The SWICS instrument on ACE has produced a new and very...more
J.S. Maini of the Canadian Forest Service called forests the "heart and lungs of the world." This is because forests filter air and water pollution, absorb carbon dioxide, release oxygen, and maintain...more