BEACON TRANSCRIPT – NASA has recently started a field campaign called SnowEx. The purpose of this campaign is to measure the water quantities in regions which are covered in snow. The first flights in the campaign have successfully been completed.
To fulfill the water demands of the population, researchers must fully understand the water resources available on Earth. One way would be to analyze the snow-covered regions on the globe, which constitute an important water resource.
For example, the snow-covered mountains are an important seasonal resource. During warmer seasons, the snow melts and the waters goes down into the lowlands. Such factors are hard to analyze, so it is hard to have a perfectly accurate method to measure the water quantity on Earth.
This is why NASA took the initiative to start this campaign. Through SnowEx, they aim to improve measurements of the volume and depth of snow in different areas across the United States. The researchers have already completed a ground analysis, as well as an aerial analysis, of the snow over Western Colorado.
Edward Kim, scientist at NASA and one of the main project scientists involved in the SnowEx project, wanted to find the most accurate methods to measure snow levels and how they could work together. The project gathered almost 100 scientists from many universities in U.S., Canada, and Europe.
Snow is one of the most important water sources in the western United States, being widely used for drinking, drinking, and for its power. This is one of the main reasons why scientists want to take a better view at snow from space.
Since satellites cannot measure perfectly the amount of water that is produced from snow, scientists use both remote satellite techniques combined with ground measurements to determine the exact quantity of resulting water.
The equipment of SnowEx involves five spacecrafts that host ten different sensors. Similar sensors are available on the ground, too, since these measurements are more important due to their higher level of accuracy.
The SnowEx campaign has already been lasting for five years and it has gathered accurate data on water supply in western U.S. and the significant changes that occurred in this supply. They noticed declines of snow levels in certain areas, which might affect our future water supplies and the prediction of droughts and floods.
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