FMI reports on campaign to study snow in Arctic conditions

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An international team of experts participated in a snow measurement campaign in Sodankylä, Finland, in March and April 2019. The conducted measurements have been undertaken in a bid to improve the monitoring of Earth’s snow cover and climate from space. This recently published video about the campaign shows how snow is studied in Arctic conditions.

The SnowAPP campaign brought together a team of around 20 experts in a month-long research project at the Finnish Meteorological Institute’s Arctic Space Centre in Sodankylä. The international research team used a large variety of different methods to study snow.

“The new observations will help us in better understanding the interaction of snow and electromagnetic radiation. The observations will help in the development of better methods to monitor snow from satellites,” said Roberta Pirazzini, senior research scientist, Finnish Meteorological Institute.

Snow monitoring relies mostly on satellite snow observations. However, satellite snow observations have errors and gaps, which is why new methods are developed with in-situ measurements.

In Sodankylä, the team measured snow properties, such as the electromagnetic signals reflected and emitted by the snow at different wavelengths. The observations were conducted using spectro-albedometers, radiometers and radars. The measuring devices were deployed on a flat, snow covered wetland area, where simultaneous measurements were performed, for example, on the structure, humidity and impurities of snow with various research equipment.

Research manager Jouni Peltoniemi from the Finnish Geospatial Research Institute (FGI) of the National Land Survey of Finland participated in the snow measurement campaign. Equipment of FGI was used in the research. “We have developed FIGIFIGO, a unique field goniospectrometer which accurately measures reflections from snow in different directions. The measurement campaign was a success. We obtained large amounts of data for further research,” he said.

The observations collected during the SnowAPP campaign will be used to develop a new model of the interaction of snow and electromagnetic radiation. “The results will be used to improve the simulation of snow surface albedo in numerical weather prediction and climate models,” added Petri Räisänen, senior research scientist, Finnish Meteorological Institute.

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Helen has worked for UKi Media & Events for more than a decade. She joined the company as assistant editor on Passenger Terminal World and has since progressed to become editor of five publications, covering everything from aviation, logistics and automotive to meteorology. She has a love for travel and property and has redeveloped three houses in three years. When she’s not editing magazines, she’s running around after her two boys and their partner in crime, Pete the pug.

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