The Brooks-Range Pocket Snow Density Gauge™ 100 is a compact and highly accurate device modeled on the gauge currently in use by the National Weather Service. It’s a simple mass balance scale calibrated to a sample size of 100 cubic centimeters.
The sample tube is serrated at one end for cutting into firm snow. Made from high-grade aluminum it is small, feather light, and corrosion resistant; a perfect compromise between laboratory precision and rugged simplicity. A tab of plastic lets you handle the tube without transmitting any heat from your fingers to keep the temperature of the snow unaffected by the gauge. An excellent tool for adding precision to your snow observations, especially when documenting the presense of slab avalanche conditions.
For storage, the scale unhooks, then slides inside the tube. A pouch keeps it all together in a small package that you´ll never notice the weight of.
Why does knowing the density of snow matter?
There are three common reasons.
1) To increase understanding of the snowpack for predicting avalanche hazard on a particular slope,
2) to estimate the amount of water in the snowpack (which contributes to forecasting knowledge), and
3) to know the density of snow as a percent, something skiers and snowboarders enjoy bragging about.
Bragging Rights Strictly speaking, percent snow is a measure of porosity – a ratio of the volume occupied by snow crystals versus the total volume of the sample. Snow density on the other hand is simply the mass per unit volume. However, since snow is frozen water, the easiest way to deduce the percentage of snow is to make a snow density measurement, then convert that value to percent.