Term: Snow course Class:  
 vernacular   (0%)
Created 6 June 2017
Last modified 6 June 2017
Contributed by GCW Glossary


Definition: Line laid out and permanently marked, along which snow is sampled, or its depth measured, at appropriate times at stations separated by definite distances. (TR)  WMOHydrology 

An established line or transect of measurements of snow water equivalent across a snow field in representative mountainous terrain, where appreciable snow accumulates, to monitor seasonal snowpack. Although intended to be measured over a distance of several hundred meters, in practice snow courses may consist of four or so individual measurements. The measurements are used for runoff prediction and for assessing the potential for flooding or drought, and they are also used in longer- term climatological studies. Along the snow course, core samples are taken periodically (often monthly) throughout the snow season. Approximately 300 snow courses are operated over the western United States.  AMSglossary