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A comparison of measurement methods: terrestrial laser scanning, tachymetry and snow probing for the determination of the spatial snow-depth distribution on slopes

  • A. Prokop (a1) (a2), M. Schirmer (a2), M. Rub (a3), M. Lehning (a2) and M. Stocker (a3)...
Abstract

Determination of the spatial snow-depth distribution is important in potential avalanche-starting zones, both for avalanche prediction and for the dimensioning of permanent protection measures. Knowledge of the spatial distribution of snow is needed in order to validate snow depths computed from snowpack and snowdrift models. The inaccessibility of alpine terrain and the acute danger of avalanches complicate snow-depth measurements (e.g. when probes are used), so the possibility of measuring the snowpack using terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) was tested. The results obtained were compared to those of tachymetry and manual snow probing. Laser measurements were taken using the long-range laser profile measuring system Riegl LPM-i800HA. The wavelength used by the laser was 0.9 μm (near-infrared). The accuracy was typically within 30 mm. The highest point resolution was 30 mm when measured from a distance of 100 m. Tachymetry measurements were carried out using Leica TCRP1201 systems. Snowpack depths measured by the tachymeter were also used. The datasets captured by tachymetry were used as reference models to compare the three different methods (TLS, tachymetry and snow probing). This is the first time that the accuracy of TLS systems in snowy and alpine weather conditions has been quantified. The relative accuracy between the three measurement methods is bounded by a maximum offset of ±8 cm. Between TLS and the tachymeter the standard deviation is 1σ = 2 cm, and between manual probing and TLS it is up to 1σ = 10 cm, for maximum distances for the TLS and tachymeter of 300 m.

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References
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Annals of Glaciology
  • ISSN: 0260-3055
  • EISSN: 1727-5644
  • URL: /core/journals/annals-of-glaciology
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