NASA Updates for the White Stuff

New Weather Technology Helps People See Snow From Space

Snow is something all of us in the Upper Midwest are used to in the winter.

But how are researchers using it to help figure out our country’s water supply?

“NASA’s Earth Observing Fleet has been at this for a long time,” explains NASA Scientist Dalia Kirschbaum.

New ways to measure the winter white stuff are coming, thanks to scientists at NASA’s Goddard Space Center.

Technology and research programs throughout the Upper Midwest and the Rocky Mountains are looking at the amount of groundwater in accumulated snow.

Researchers are also taking a look at how snow impacts river flows as well as agriculture nation–wide.

“One of the activities we’re working on is a campaign in Colorado specifically looking at how much water is stored in snowpack, river flows, as well as what water can be used for agriculture,” Kirschbaum says.

The campaign, known as SnowEx, looks at different terrain across the United States and measures snow from satellites in the atmosphere as well as on the ground.

It will also measure underground water to benefit agriculture in North Dakota and Minnesota and includes a new satellite to give another perspective on where snow is falling.

“Snow is really tricky to measure, so the Global Precipitation Measurement Mission, or the GPM, is actually specifically designed to look at falling snow from space and this is really important information for weather forecasting and understanding of extreme events,” Kirschbaum states.

The GPM will give scientists a better idea about the trends of snow cover throughout the country as well as how snow melts into water.

The different methods will be measuring the snow pack until 2021.

Click here for more information on SnowEx.

Categories: Agriculture, Morning – Features, Weather Blog