Saturday 16 April 2011

Little house in the snow-drifts

This photograph was taken at the Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory (SGO) last month. Apart from showing plenty of snow, it also shows how easily it can be blown about by the wind.

Snow like this (drift snow), is picked up where the wind is stronger and tends to drop back out of the air where it slows down. This is often where there is a change in the direction of the air-flow, such as a stationary object or where there is a drop or rise in the landscape.

For KAIRA, we hope to mitigate the accumulation of snow drifts by raising our HBA tiles up to a height of approximately 2 metres. Because the air moves slower closer to the ground, one can typically expect a increase in the air speed as you go further up. This is partly what the winter testing has been demonstrating. As increased levels of snow blown by the wind can easily exceed that of directly-fallen snow, this is a serious issue that we need to consider carefully as part of the HBA evaluation.

Photo: D. McKay-Bukowski

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