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Mitchell Creelman Thesis Proposal

November 3 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm MDT

Measuring Snow Accumulation With Helicopter-Based Lidar


In the American West, snow-melt runoff is a major source of fresh water supply for many municipalities, making spring snowmelt estimations critically important for water resource management. Light detection and ranging technology (LiDAR) is one method of providing high-resolution height of snow measurements for use in basin-wide snow water equivalent (SWE) estimations. However, currently, Lidar surveys are conducted either from fixed wing airplanes, which can be very expensive, ground units, which do not provide the spatial coverage necessary for basin-scale estimations, or satellites, which provide a coarse resolution. My research seeks to help develop a more cost effective method of snow height measurement using a helicopter-based LiDAR package (helipod). I propose to develop a methodology to accurately and precisely align the measured surface heights, and then difference the measurements to estimate both total snow depth and the change in snow depth. I will then seek to compare the helipod measurement method against current state of the art methods for measuring snow height. This product will then be used to analyze the mid-winter snow accumulation patterns across our study site.

Advisor: Hans-Peter Marshall
Co-Advisor: Shad O’Neel & Ernesto Trujillo-Gomez