NASA wants help in measuring Alaska snow

Anchorage, Alaska (KINY) NASA has funded research that recruits citizens to measure the amount of snow in remote areas of the Pacific Northwest and in Alaska.

NASA wants to develop computer models that will calculate just how much water from these snows will end up in the region's rivers and reservoirs.  The citizen snow-measuring program is called Community Snow Observations.  It is designed to improve data on snow amounts.  Currently snow telemetry stations are maintained by the U.S Department of Agriculture in high elevations and hard to reach places.  The government claims there are simply too few of them to get an accurate account of snow.

It is estimated that nearly three-forths of water that end up in streams and provide drinking water, come from spring and summer melt of snow in these areas.

The grant was awarded to a researcher at the University of Washington and a research geologist with the Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys

The public can use poles or even yardsticks to record the amount of snow as they venture into mountains.  To measure the person just finds undisturbed snow, pushes the probe firmly to the ground, reads the depth in centimeters and then enters the data onto a smartphone app.

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