Snow Water Equivalent

by | Feb 22, 2024

Snow Water Equivalent (SWE) refers to the amount of water stored in the snow that is potentially available to melt. It is often given in a cm water column and can be calculated as the snow height multiplied by its density. Snow compresses over time and changes its morphology through temperature and radiation-induced mass-transfer within the snowpack. The snowpack is therefore composed of several layers of varying density that accumulate over the winter season, resulting in a unique density profile depending on location and time.

Snow Water Equivalent Map

To generate maps of SWE we use a customised empirical snow density model which is combined with our high-resolution snow height maps. The model takes our high-resolution snow height as input and models the compression of individual snow layers over time, enabling temporally-aware SWE estimations.