Session 7.3 The Hotplate Snow Gauge

Wednesday, 22 June 2005: 3:00 PM
South Ballroom (Hilton DeSoto)
Roy M. Rasmussen, NCAR, Boulder, CO; and J. Hallett, M. L. Tryhane, S. D. Landolt, R. Purcell, M. C. Beaubien, W. Q. Jeffries, F. Hage, and J. Cole

Presentation PDF (631.2 kB)

The Hotplate Snow Gauge has been jointly developed by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and the Desert Research Institute (DRI). This instrument provides a method to measure rain and snowfall rates and accumulations once every minute. The Hotplate has upper and lower aluminum plates separated by a layer of insulation and heated to nearly identical temperatures of 70 degrees Celsius. The upper plate is exposed to wind and precipitation while the lower plate is exposed only to the wind. In conditions where no precipitation is occurring, both plates require nearly the same amount of energy to maintain a constant temperature. When precipitation is occurring, the upper plate requires more power to maintain a constant temperature due to the melting and evaporation of precipitation. The difference in power required by the upper and lower plates to maintain a constant temperature is proportional to the precipitation rate.

The Hotplate is different from other precipitation gauges in that it has no moving parts and does not require glycol or oil. Its compact design makes it easy to deploy anywhere and it does not require a wind shield for measuring snow. Yankee Environmental Systems, Inc (YES) is currently manufacturing the Hotplate Snow Gauge known as the TPS-3100.

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