Environmental Research Station Schneefernerhaus
Third International Workshop on Space-based Snowfall Measurement was held in Grainau/Badersee, Germany
Thursday, 7. April 2011

From March 29 – April 2, 2011 the Third International Workshop on Space-based Snowfall Measurement was held in Grainau/Badersee, Germany.

A major part of global precipitation falls as snow and liquid precipitation is often initiated via the ice phase. The global distribution of snowfall is thus very important for weather prediction and climate studies, especially concerning the rapid changes of the hydrological cycle in the Polar Regions. However, measuring snowfall is a highly complicated matter. The main challenges in adequately measuring snowfall are the high spatial and temporal variability as well as the enormous complexity of snow crystal habit, density and particle size distribution.

Thus, this workshop brought together researchers focusing on the measurement of snowfall from space using active and passive microwave sensors for the purpose of assessing the state of the science and measurement technology and to recommend future directions in research and technology development. The topics of interest included instrument development, space-borne missions and concepts, retrieval techniques, assimilation systems, modeling of microwave radiative transfer within snow particles and snowy air, modeling of microphysical processes and ground validation. On April 1 the workshop participants took a science tour of the Schneefernerhaus (UFS). This was of high interest because UFS hosts remote sensing and in-situ facilities of ground-based snow, water vapor, liquid water, temperature and aerosol measurements. These measurements are of high relevance for studying the interaction between snowfall and radiation as well as providing independent data for satellite measurement evaluation.

The workshop was sponsored by the International Precipitation Working Group (IPWG), the GEWEX Radiation Panel (GRP), by NASA’s CloudSat mission, and by NASA’s Precipitation Measurement Missions (PMM) Program on behalf of the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Mission.