Photo story Measuring snow at Crater Lake

February 19, 2022
Photo story Measuring snow at Crater Lake

At the beginning of each month in winter, the Natural Resources Conservation Service produces a report on snowpack conditions across Oregon, predicting how the water content in mountain snow may translate into streamflows during the spring and summer.

More than 50-80% of the water supply around the West starts out as snow, so those in agriculture, recreation, flood management and hydropower generation use the data for planning.

Much of the snowpack measurements around the West come from more than 900 automatic snow telemetry sites positioned in key high-altitude areas. They transmit data hourly year-round, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Every year, curious bears damage about a dozen of the automated sites.

Before the installation of automated sites, surveyors hiked to locations to collect snowpack data. In a few locations, scientists still take measurements the old-fashioned way, using a long aluminum tube. The Herald and News in Klamath Falls went along with the snow guys late last month as they gathered data at Crater Lake National Park.

See the article and all photographs in the Bulletin

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An aerial view of a body of water.