Abstract

The CoCoRAHS Network portal provides high quality volunteer collected snow albedo, snow depth, and snow density data for research and education applications

Project Description

The NH EPSCoR Community Collaborative - Rain, Albedo, Hail, and Snow Network (CoCoRAHS Albedo) is an outreach and educational extension of the NH EPSCoR Ecosystems and Society project, fully funded by NSF EPSCoR. CoCoRAHS Albedo is a volunteer network established as an extension of the national CoCoRaHS network. Non-profit community-based network of volunteers of all ages and backgrounds work together to measure and map precipitation (rain, hail and snow) in the US and Canada. In addition to collecting precipitation data, CoCoRAHS Albedo asks observers to measure additional surface properties including snow depth, snow density, surface temperature, cloud cover, and albedo. Albedo is a measure of surface reflectivity, calculated as the ratio of reflected energy to incoming solar energy, and ranges from 0.0-1.0. Surfaces with high albedo, like snow, reflect a higher proportion of the sun’s energy and serve to cool surface temperatures. Surfaces with low albedo, like blacktop, absorb more of the sun’s energy and serve to warm surface temperatures. The main objectives of CoCoRAHS Albedo are to use low-cost measurement tools ($800 snow sampling kit), provide training and education, disseminate data through an interactive website, and collect high quality snow albedo, snow depth, and snow density data for research and education applications.

The CoCoRAHS Albedo network consists of 20-25 volunteer observers across the state of New Hampshire, including experienced national CoCoRAHS precipitation observers and middle and high school classrooms. Each observer is provided with a snow sampling kit to collect daily measurements of snow depth, snow density, surface albedo, cloud cover, and surface temperature. Observers collect data in their own backyards, including grass lawns and garden soils. Data collected through CoCoRAHS Albedo will help scientists better understand the importance of surface albedo on winter time climate in New Hampshire.