Field sites (Year 1)
Identification of the field sites for SnowEx Year 1 has now been finalized. The site selected is Grand Mesa, in Colorado, with targeted observations at the Senator Beck, resources permitting. This site was found to most closely meet the multisensor and forest objectives of year one. The trade study summary for site selection considered a number of requirements including: sufficient forested stands to have a range of density and height (and other forest conditions); a range of snow depth/SWE conditions; sufficiently flat snow-covered terrain of a size comparable to airborne instrument swath widths; existing/ongoing snow observations; and other requirements related to logistical considerations. In addition, to ensure the multi-sensor objectives of the campaign are met, we also need snow that is intermediate in depth/SWE, and that has a low risk of being wet prior to melt season (wet snow interferes with the microwave techniques).
The site decision was primarily based on the recommendation from the most recent NASA iSWGR community workshop, which was held in Seattle on March 29-31, 2016, where a short list of potential sites for SnowEx Year 1 evolved. The 'top three' geographic domains are western Colorado (multiple specific sites), eastern Sierra Nevada in California (multiple specific sites), and the eastern Canadian Rockies (Canadian Rockies Hydrological Observatory, CRHO). The Grand Mesa site meets all these requirements, while the other sites raised some concerns such as wet snow, deep snow beyond the saturation limits of the active and passive microwave techniques, lack of dependable snow cover, and the suitability of existing snow observations. For additional details, see the site selection memo.
Sites that were considered:
Site information coordinators Noah Molotch and Chris Crawford received and processed information on a wide variety of potential sites and organized the information into the following database: