The paper describes the realization of a new snow measurement system where a Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) is connected to a Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS) receiver. A snow scooter pulled a radar antenna, a distance wheel triggered the radar pulses and the reflections were stored in a control unit. A marker was set on the radar file each time a position was logged on the DGPS receiver. Thus, each position was directly related to a snow depth measured by the GPR. The obtained accuracy of the position was in the range of 5-10 m and manual calibration measurements were used to ensure good quality of the snow depth data.
The system was tested in the Norwegian catchment Aursunden during the period of maximum snow accumulation, 12th – 23rd April 1999. Landscape features were analyzed with a Geographic Information System (GIS) and extensive snow measurements were worked out in representative areas. The obtained data on the snow cover were later used for statistical analysis.
In addition to the efficiency which makes it possible to measure large areas in a relatively short time, the major advances in the described system is that the obtained data can be used directly in a computer aided GIS. Nevertheless, further improvement is needed because of 1) the possibility for ambiguous connection between snow depth log and position log, 2) the distance between consecutive positions is not constant since it is time dependent, 3) the algorithm for automatically detection of the ground reflection from the radar log-file still needs interference from the user.