Journal article

Quantifying Particle Numbers and Mass Flux in Drifting Snow

We compare two of the most common methods of quantifying mass flux, particle numbers and particle-size distribution for drifting snow events, the snow-particle counter (SPC), a laser-diode-based particle detector, and particle tracking velocimetry based on digital shadowgraphic imaging. The two methods were correlated for mass flux and particle number flux. For the SPC measurements, the device was calibrated by the manufacturer beforehand. The shadowgrapic imaging method measures particle size and velocity directly from consecutive images, and before each new test the image pixel length is newly calibrated. A calibration study with artificially scattered sand particles and glass beads provides suitable settings for the shadowgraphical imaging as well as obtaining a first correlation of the two methods in a controlled environment. In addition, using snow collected in trays during snowfall, several experiments were performed to observe drifting snow events in a cold wind tunnel. The results demonstrate a high correlation between the mass flux obtained for the calibration studies () and good correlation for the drifting snow experiments (). The impact of measurement settings is discussed in order to reliably quantify particle numbers and mass flux in drifting snow. The study was designed and performed to optimize the settings of the digital shadowgraphic imaging system for both the acquisition and the processing of particles in a drifting snow event. Our results suggest that these optimal settings can be transferred to different imaging set-ups to investigate sediment transport processes.


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