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Airborne Laser Mapping The Mountain Snowpack

February 21 @ 5:00 PM - 6:30 PM

Airborne Laser Mapping the Mountain Snowpack – A New Foundation for Runoff Forecasting and Water Management

Airborne Snow Observatories (ASO) is bringing a new, powerful perspective to measuring and monitoring our biggest water reservoir – the mountain snowpack. Conventional, station-based measurements (like SNOTEL) provide important, continuous monitoring at a small number of locations. While these stations form the backbone of our snowpack monitoring infrastructure, their locations in forest clearings within a narrow elevation range leave us blind to the vast majority of the snowpack within a watershed. This is an important vulnerability, meaning we can have a good bit more or less snow in the watershed than indicated by the station data.

ASO is filling this gap. Using technology and data workflows developed over nearly a decade at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, ASO uses airborne laser and spectrometer mapping to provide accurate, high-resolution, and full-watershed maps of snow depth, snow water equivalent, and snow albedo. When combined with information from the SNOTEL network, we now have the necessary data resources to accurately capture the evolution of the seasonal mountain snowpack and to increase the reliability of runoff forecasting in changing climate and watershed conditions.

During this presentation by ASO’s Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer, Dr. Jeffrey Deems, we’ll explore this ongoing paradigm shift in our ability to monitor our snowpack reservoir, with examples and case studies from the Roaring Fork Watershed, Colorado, and California.

About the presenter: Dr. Jeffrey Deems is a Co-Founder of Airborne Snow Observatories, Inc – a NASA tech transfer company bringing a new perspective and paradigm to monitoring our mountain snow reservoir. He and his team combine academic and engineering expertise in snow science, laser mapping of snow, and hydrologic modeling with a love of backcountry skiing to help pioneer new technology applications that help us make better use of our precious water resources.

This is an in-person, free program offered in partnership with Basalt Regional Library. This presentation will not be live streamed or recorded.


February 21
5:00 PM - 6:30 PM
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Basalt Regional Library
14 Midland Avenue
Basalt, CO 81621 United States
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