Temperature Profiling - Real-time Snowpack Temperature Profiling at Alaska’s Turnagain Pass - Case Study
BeadedStream, in coordination with Kasteler Consulting, Inc. (KCI) and The Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center (CNFAIC) is in the second year of snowpack data collection at Turnagain Pass, Alaska.
The Seward Highway is the only thoroughfare for traffic between Anchorage, AK and the Kenai Peninsula. The road takes travelers over Turnagain Pass which is also a primary destination for backcountry skiing and snowmobiling enthusiasts.
This installation is an outreach project with the goals of bolstering a sparse instrumentation network in a highly-used, and highly avalanche-prone region. Further, Tincan Mountain specifically is easily the most heavily trafficked area on Turnagain Pass. Finally, this quality snow-temperature data set can be used by educators (i.e. The Alaska Avalanche School) in quantifying and characterizing snow conditions.
In November 2015, a custom BeadedStream Digital Temperature Cable (DTC) was installed vertically in the snowpack along with a sonic snow depth sensor. Both sensors were attached to a BeadedStream D405 Satellite Datalogger for remote transmission to the web. KCI staff installed and continues to maintain the site at 2300′ on Tincan. Prior to the season, site materials (mast, timbers, etc.) were helicoptered in from Girdwood, AK and KCI staff proceeded to set the mast in place and build a snow deflector aimed at shoring up lateral creep.
A write up from CNFAIC forecaster Wendy Wagner can be found by clicking HERE. This page has additional photos and gives a quick description of the site.
The actual 2015/2016 data can be viewed HERE or accessed through the CNFAIC website under the “Weather Tab > Tin Can Snow Profile Monitoring”. Data is scheduled to transmit every 2 hours and is automatically presented on BeadedStream’s secure server. A previous dataset collected over the 2012/2013 season can be seen by clicking HERE. This data was collected at Center Ridge, very near to the Tincan site, but at a lower elevation.
Turnagain Pass represents the entrance to the Kenai Peninsula as one drives south from Anchorage, AK. The pass is a hot-spot for backcountry enthusiasts, as well, a beautiful mountainous region worth a visit!