Estimating snow water equivalent using cosmic‐ray neutron sensors from the COSMOS‐UK network

Wallbank, John R. ORCID:; Cole, Steven J. ORCID:; Moore, Robert J. ORCID:; Anderson, Seonaid R. ORCID:; Mellor, Edward J.. 2021 Estimating snow water equivalent using cosmic‐ray neutron sensors from the COSMOS‐UK network. Hydrological Processes, 35 (5), e14048. 17, pp.

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The intensity of cosmic ray neutrons is inversely correlated with the amount of water present in the surrounding environment. This effect is already employed by around 50 neutron sensors in the COSMOS‐UK network to provide daily estimates of soil moisture across the UK. Here, these same sensors are used to automatically provide estimates of Snow Water Equivalent (SWE). Lying snow is typically ephemeral and of shallow depth for most parts of the UK. Moreover, soil moisture is usually high and variable, which acts to increase uncertainties in the SWE estimate. Nevertheless, even under such challenging conditions, both above ground and buried cosmic ray neutron sensors are still able to produce potentially useful SWE estimates. Triple collocation analysis suggests typical uncertainties of less than around 4mm under UK snow conditions.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Hydro-climate Risks (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 0885-6087
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: snow water equivalent, cosmic ray, neutron, COSMOS, hydrology
NORA Subject Terms: Hydrology
Date made live: 09 Mar 2021 15:14 +0 (UTC)

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