Real-time access to snow data from Svalbard glaciers

SIOS access project: Data workflow and website for Snow Research in Svalbard

by Jean-Charles Gallet, Norwegian Polar Institute 

SnowLive is a collaboration between the University of Oslo and the Norwegian Polar Institute that aims to provide snow and weather information from remote and challenging places such as glaciers or high elevations using wireless sensor network and off-the-shelf sensors. Designed by the University of Oslo, the stations are extremely portable and replicable facilitating their deployment in the field and giving us greater coverage to understand spatial variability of snow cover caused for instance by wind redeposition of snow.

In Spring 2021, we have assembled and installed about 14 stations on Kongsvegen and Midtre Lovenbreen near Ny-Ålesund as well as re-using older stations recovered in the field from 2019. The work is currently deployed in Ny-Ålesund, under the SIOS umbrella project. The key feature of those stations is their capability to radio communicate collected data to radio or 4G relays every hour or less, the 2 AA-type battery packs being the limitation for more frequent data sending. This setup fits in a shoe-box and can last for about two years without maintenance. The main difficulty had been to insure that each station communicate to each other until the data reaches our relays and finally our server. A lot of trial and errors and now our Wireless Sensor Network monitors weather and snow data that we have been processing before release to the SIOS database. 




Figure captions:

Figure 1 (left): Map of Kongsvegen and Brøgger peninsula showing the locations of the new snow stations.

Figure 2 (right): Photograph of one of the snow stations.