In its third product launch in as many weeks, meteorological measurement specialist Lufft has brought the SHM31 laser-based snow depth sensor to market. The new tool measures snow depths of up to 15m in seconds. It is the successor to the SHM30, launched by Jenoptik in mid-2009, and part of Luffts range of optical sensors since 2014. New features include communication interfaces (RS232, RD485 and SDI-12 communication) designed to make the SHM31 fully compatible with Luffts UMB standards. The new sensor also has an integrated window heater for the entry and exit points of the laser beam, as well as an in-built protractor for simple assembly. The amount of energy required by the SHM31 is lower than the SHM30, despite the expanded, two-stage heating function, which ensures that measurements are not affected by even the most extreme weather conditions. The snow-depth sensor is based on an opto-electronic laser distance-measuring tool, and works with a visible measuring beam that is easy to configure. It recognises layers of snow of up to 15m on natural, diffusely reflective surfaces. Measurements are accurate down to a few millimetres. Additionally, the integrated evaluation of signal intensity enables reflectivity to be assessed, and the base surface to be differentiated from the snow. The optical measurement principle is not affected by temperature fluctuations, and, in conjunction with improved accuracy, has an advantage over traditional ultrasonic sensors. Robust casing, with IP68 certification, means that no maintenance is required. The SHM31 has been designed for use by meteorological services, airports, road maintenance depots and ski resorts, among others.