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Variation of snow properties studied with help of extensive field measurements

Variation of snow properties studied with help of extensive field measurements

The Finnish Meteorological Institute collected a uniquely comprehensive set of snow data based on field measurements performed during the winter of 2011–2012. Knowledge of this variation helps estimate the amount of snow more accurately and thus helps, for example, estimate the volume of floods in spring.

The variation of snow depth, snow density and snow water equivalent in the tundra and northern boreal forests were studied using the field measurements collected during the winter. The snow water equivalent describes the volume of water when the snow melts.

The measurements were made form an aeroplane using a radar instrument similar to the ones used in satellites.  SnowSAR-2, the flight campaign of the European Space Agency, was aimed at improving the technique used in measuring the snow water equivalent.

More information:

Researcher Henna-Reetta Hannula, tel. +358 40 670 7112,


Hannula, H.-R., Lemmetyinen, J., Kontu, A., Derksen, C., and Pulliainen, J.: Spatial and temporal variation of bulk snow properties in northern boreal and tundra environments based on extensive field measurements, Geosci. Instrum. Method. Data Syst., 5, 347-363, doi:10.5194/gi-5-347-2016, 2016.


The Finnish Meteorological Institute is a leading expert in meteorology, air quality, climate change, earth observation, marine and arctic research areas. FMI is in a unique position to study various themes of climate change in the Northern context.


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