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  • Author or Editor: Claire Pettersen x
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Ali Tokay, Annakaisa von Lerber, Claire Pettersen, Mark S. Kulie, Dmitri N. Moisseev, and David B. Wolff


Performance of the Precipitation Imaging Package (PIP) for estimating the snow water equivalent (SWE) is evaluated through a comparative study with the collocated National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Weather Service snow stake field measurements. The PIP together with a vertically pointing radar, a weighing bucket gauge, and a laser-optical disdrometer was deployed at the NWS Marquette, Michigan, office building for a long-term field study supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Global Precipitation Measurement mission Ground Validation program. The site was also equipped with a weather station. During the 2017/18 winter, the PIP functioned nearly uninterrupted at frigid temperatures accumulating 2345.8 mm of geometric snow depth over a total of 499 h. This long record consists of 30 events, and the PIP-retrieved and snow stake field measured SWE differed less than 15% in every event. Two of the major events with the longest duration and the highest accumulation are examined in detail. The particle mass with a given diameter was much lower during a shallow, colder, uniform lake-effect event than in the deep, less cold, and variable synoptic event. This study demonstrated that the PIP is a robust instrument for operational use, and is reliable for deriving the bulk properties of falling snow.

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