Snow - Must be Saturday!

Chris Kidd is a hydrologist at Goddard Space Flight Center. This week he is at the CARE site in Ontario and writes to us about this week's flights.

Isn’t it strange how the best snow tends to occur on the same day of the week; when I was little it was always a Thursday. Last Saturday we had a good lake effect snowfall over Barrie (Ontario), this Saturday we had another 6 inches of snow. The forecast proved to accurate in terms of the timing; a 3:15 am start from the hotel to drive out to the field site and prepare for the days operations; the first flakes of snow started to fall as I arrived.

First the radiosonde was prepared and launched; this provides us with measurements throughout the atmosphere above the field site. Then we briefed the citation aircraft that was going to collect samples of the clouds and snow as it was falling. The snow became moderate to heavy at times with a good accumulation forming. This proved to be ideal for the aircraft sampling the event; we put it into a spiral above the field site so that we could see how the snowflakes formed in the clouds, and then compare the aircraft measurements with those taken on the ground.

After a few hours the citation returned to base to refuel, while we prepared another radiosonde launch and took a quick lunch before the citation returned. The snow continued throughout much of the day, with a total of 6 inches being recorded – another successful day!

D3R at CARE The D3R instrument at the CARE site under 6 inches of snow, Saturday February 18, 2012.

Credit: NASA / Chris Kidd