SnowStation periodically measures intensity of light in snow cover. The data are then processed in computer and the height and density of snow cover is calculated. Knowing the amount of water in snow cover at certain places in landscape allows us to predict flow of streams and rivers when the snow melts.
The device consists of a sensor tube and a control unit. The sensor tube measures light intensity in discrete layers of snow cover. Measured values are stored in the control unit.
Optical sensors are evenly distributed along the sensor tube. The sensor tube is placed vertically, stretched between the ground and supporting construction, so that sensors measure light intensity in individual layers of snow cover.
Optical sensors and the supporting electronics are soldered to a flexible printed circuit board. Thanks to this design it is possible to fold the long sensor tube for transportation or storage.
Sensor tube is composed of several identical sensor modules, which are interconnected with the I2C serial bus. The modular design allows to assemble sensor tube of variable length, depending on the need of application. Each sensor module has a digital thermometer, which measures the temperature in distinct layers of snow cover. Joined sensor modules are protected against moisture with a translucent silicon spaghetti insulation tube. There is a wired connection between the sensor tube and the control unit.
The control unit periodically obtains measured light intensities from the sensor tube. The data are marked with a timestamp and stored to a memory card. The data from card are then processed in a computer and the height and density of snow cover is calculated.
The device has ultra low power consumption. Three AAA bateries can supply the device for whole season.
published: 25. 12. 2011
© Ondřej Staněk