SLF Snow Sensor:

An efficient and accurate device to measure snow density and LWC:

The SLF Snow Sensor was developed in close collaboration with the Swiss Federal Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research (SLF) in Davos. The device measures the density (ρ – kg) or the liquid water content (LWC) of snow with a capacitive sensor, which generates an electrical field permeating the snow. Depending on the fractions of ice, air and water within the permeated snow volume, the measured capacitance changes, as ice, air and water have different dielectric properties. For dry snow (absence of liquid water) the snow density can be directly deduced. To determine the LWC, the ice fraction (dry density) of the snow must be known. Rather by a density measurement before the snow has started to melt or by approximation (e.g for machine made snow).

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  • Snow density range: 0..917 kg/m3

  • Snow moisture range: 0..20 vol %

  • Measurement frequency: 20 MHz

  • Battery run time: > 10 hrs

  • Temperature range: -25..+60 °C

  • Memory size: 280 samples

  • Battery: 3 x 1,5 V AAA cells

  • Data download: via USB

  • Display: 102 x 64 px with backlight

  • Measurement volume: approx. 45 x 95 x 17 mm

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Denoth, A., 1989: Snow dielectric measurements. Adv. Space Res. 9, 233–243.

Fierz, C., Armstrong, R.L., Durand, Y., Etchevers, P., Greene, E., McClung, D.M., Nishimura, K., Satyawali, P.K. and Sokratov, S.A., 2009: The International Classification for Seasonal Snow on the Ground. IHP-VII Technical Documents in Hydrology No. 83, IACS Contribution No. 1, UNESCO-IHP, Paris.

Niang, M., Bernier, M., Stacheder, M. et al. Subsurf Sens Technol Appl (2006) 7: 1.

Von Hippel, Arthur R, Laboratory for Insulation Research, & Dielectric Materials Applications. (1995). Dielectric materials and applications. Second ed.., The Artech House microwave library. Boston .: Artech House.

Ziegler, S., 2005, Schneefeuchtigkeitsmessgerät. Diplomarbeit Berner Fachhochschule, WSL-Institut für Schnee- und Lawinenforschung SLF.

Wolfsperger, F.; Rhyner, H.; Schneebeli, M., 2018: Pistenpräparation und Pistenpflege. Das Handbuch für den Praktiker. 232 p., WSL-Institut für Schnee- und Lawinenforschung SLF