92nd American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting (January 22-26, 2012)

Monday, 23 January 2012
The Environment Canada Snow Measurement Intercomparison Facilities: Overview and Results
Hall E (New Orleans Convention Center )
Craig D. Smith, EC, Saskatoon, SK, Canada; and R. Nitu

The accurate measurements of snow (snowfall, snow depth, and snow water equivalent) are some of the most difficult atmospheric or hydrologic measurements to make accurately, but some of the most significant measurements for climate and water resource monitoring and model validation. The measurement issues are often exacerbated by automation. The accuracy of gauge snowfall measurements are very dependent on the environment in which the measurements are made as well as the configuration of the precipitation gauge and wind shield used to make the measurements. Wind is the most influential environmental factor influencing the accuracy of the gauge measurement. The result is the potential for a large negative bias and gross underestimation. Every precipitation gauge configuration behaves differently and needs to be compared against a known reference to understand and adjust the systematic bias with the objective of producing a homogenized precipitation data set. To accomplish this objective and to test new or experimental instrumentation to make in-situ snow measurements, Environment Canada operates four instrument intercomparison facilities in different Canadian climatic regimes. These are located at the Centre for Atmospheric Research Experiments (CARE) in southern Ontario, St. John's Newfoundland (Atlantic Canada), Iqaluit (eastern Canadian Arctic), and Bratt's Lake Saskatchewan (Canadian Prairies). An overview of these facilities is presented and some instrument measurement intercomparisons and wind adjustment relationships are discussed. These results will be used in defining the objectives for the next WMO Intercomparison of Solid Preciptiation that has an anticipated start in 2012.

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