Term: Airborne Snow Water Equivalent Measurement Theory Class:  
 vernacular   (0%)
Created 6 June 2017
Last modified 6 June 2017
Contributed by GCW Glossary


Definition: A theory based on the fact that natural terrestrial gamma radiation is emitted from the potassium, uranium, and thorium radioisotopes in the upper eight inches of the soil. The radiation is sensed from low flying aircraft 500 feet above the ground. Water mass in the snow cover attenuates the terrestrial radiation signal. The difference between airborne radiation measurements made over bare ground and snow-covered ground can be used to calculate a mean areal snow water equivalent value with a root mean square error of less than a half inch.  NOAAHydrology