A new gauge to detect drifting snow has been tested at an experimental site at La Molina, eastern Spanish Pyrenees during the 1996 winter.
Based on an acoustic principle, it consiste of a miniature microphone located at the base of an aluminium pole of a Variable length (depending on the average height of the snow accumulated in a season). While snowdrifting occurs and the pole is exposed to the flux (wind + snow particles), the snow grains impact on the pole and the sound produced by these collisions is recorded as an electrical signal.
30 m away from the snowdrifting detector, there is an anemometric station. The comparison of both records allows determination of thresholds and deposit wind velocities. In addition, this gauge allows users to know, during a wind episode, the exact amount of time during which snowdrifting occurs without being in the field. The interpretation of the values obtained using the acoustic detector is not yet an easy subject to discuss. We slill do not know what the drift-density equivalents for tile recorded noise levels are. However, these are only preliminary results and we expect to complete the calibration of the gauge during the coming months.