Journal article

Snow particle characteristics in the saltation layer

Shadowgraphy was employed to study snow saltation in boundary-layer wind tunnel experiments with fresh, naturally deposited snow. The shadowgraphy method allowed for a temporally and spatially high-resolution investigation of snow particle characteristics within a measurement area of up to 50 mm x 50 mm. Snow particle size and number characteristics, and their variation with height in the saltation layer, were analysed. The following observations and findings were made for the saltation layer: (1) the particle number decreases exponentially with height, (2) the mean particle diameter is fairly constant, with a very slight tendency to decrease with height, (3) the maximum particle diameter decreases linearly with height, and (4) the snow particle size distribution can be adequately described by gamma probability density functions. The shape and scale parameters of the gamma distribution were found to vary systematically, though only slightly, with height over ground and between experiments with different snowpack characteristics.


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