1989-02-01

Microwave Snow Sounding for Trafficability Analysis 890020

A newly developed microwave snow sensor, snow fork, measures the dielectric properties of snow in the 500 to 1000 MHz frequency range. The relation between the dielectric and physical properties is used to calculate the density and free water content of snow. The instrument is portable and battery operated. In March 1988, field tests were conducted to compare the fork with conventional measuring devices for the analysis of 13 snow profiles. In general, the curves of snow layer properties based on snow fork and comparative measurements were similar in shape but the fork results produced a more detailed profile. There was some systematic error in density values. The fork was easy and fast to handle and operate on the field. After further development the snow fork can be a useful tool in collecting data of snow properties for trafficability analysis.

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