Snow Gauge Facts

A snow gauge is used by meteorologists to help them measure the amount of snow that has fallen over a specific amount of time.

It is a very simple device and uses a catchment container that is shaped like a funnel, once it starts to snow it will collect the snow and as it melts into the water this note gauge is able to measure the amount of water.

Using a calculation the meteorologist usually multiplies the water amount by 10 to help them determine the depth of the snow. This calculation can of course vary as it is not very specific but it can give the meteorologist a rough estimate as to the amount of snow that has fallen.

The snow gauged is based of the basic design of a rain gauge which was first invented in 1441 by somebody called the Joseon Dynasty.

There can be some issues with the wind because if the wind is very strong this can sometimes cause the snow to blow away and can lead to underreporting of snow depth. Some other problems can happen if it is raining and snowing at the same time because this can lead to again misreporting of the actual sort it.

As you can see this is very interesting stuff and now we will have a look at some other interesting facts about snow gauges.

Snow Gauge Facts for Kids

  • Snow can often melt when it lands making it more difficult to measure accurately.
  • Snow depth is always reported to the nearest whole inch.
  • Blizzard conditions can cause issues with too much snow getting into the catchment container and give false readings. I am sure you have noticed during a blizzard that snow will gather in one particular location and this is also an issue for snow gauges.
  • Snow is very unreliable in its behavior it can sometimes stick to the gauge during freezing weather. This can cause issues with snow accumulating and not giving correct readings.
  • Other issues can arise if it is also raining and snowing at the same time this will cause the snow gauge to measure the snowfall incorrectly. Meteorologists is sometimes able to determine how much rain and how much snow has fallen in order to provide much better estimates of snowfall.
  • There are a variety of snow gauges available and some of these are automated. They tend to have larger catchment areas for collecting the snow and they can wait until a particular weight is achieved. Because they are automated they can easily discard the snow in the snow catch and report much better measurements.
  • The national weather service in the United States publishes snow measurement guidelines which has input from climatologists, snow specialists, whether observers, and data users to help have standard guidelines that they can all abide by.
  • If you were doing experiments at home and taking measurements of snow always move away from fences, decks, porches or anywhere you think snow can gather due to the wind. You should not measure snowfall for more than four times in 24 hours. This is a great experiment to do at home and then bring into class.
  • Don’t forget that you should measure snow to the nearest 10th of an inch and use a snowboard. A snowboard is very simple to make and is just 2′ x 2′ piece of plywood. You can also use a yardstick to give you the same measurements.
  • Mother nature can sometimes make it difficult when measuring snow simply because of compression, melting, and drifting.


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