Back in the Office
Our field campaign closed with an astonishing summer snow storm – yes, I said that right: summer snow storm. The storm happened on June 21, 2019, in the Kananaskis Region (picture below). Snow on the ground and total precipitation was 20.7 cm and 56.0 mm, respectively. This storm started as a snowfall event, then turned into mixed precipitation, and ended as rainfall. Although this is a fascinating phenomenon, snow on the ground melted fast and entered the atmosphere, soil, and streams very quickly, even during the storm. Note that one of our MRRs was installed at Fortress Mountain on top of the tower.
After the field campaign it's back to the office, which is time to process and analyze the huge amount of data we gathered in the field. On my end, that means processing the data of our ground based radars, i.e., Micro Rain Radar (MRR). These instruments allow us to profile the atmosphere using radar beams that tell us about the size of the raindrops and snow crystals, which can then be related to the amount of water that enters our terrestrial hydrological system. By doing this, we are able to look at how well satellites, which have similar radar instruments onboard, are estimating precipitation near the surface. The MRRs also allow us to provide new insights on the algorithms that are used to retrieve precipitation from satellites, especially for snowfall. Ultimately, this work intends to improve precipitation inputs into hydrological models that predict snow on the ground and streamflow in our cold mountain river basins. The picture below shows the Fortress Mountain MRR reflectivity retrievals from that June 21, 2019, event.
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