The Brooks-Range Scientist Snow Density Gauge™ 200 is a compact and highly accurate device modeled on the gauge currently in use by the National Weather Service. It accurately measures water density using a simple mass balance scale based calibrated to a sample size of 200 cubic centimeters (cc).
The Scientist 200 is compact, lightweight, corrosion resistant, and unaffected by altitude. It is the perfect compromise between laboratory precision and rugged simplicity in a small, convenient, and easy-to-use design. Snow density measurements are accurate to within 1% to the trained eye, with a scale reading from 0% to 60% in 5% increments.
Snow scientists, avalanche forecasters and observers, backcountry travelers and skiers can all use the Pocket Snow Density Gauge to assess the quality of new snow, the rate of snow metamorphosis, snow pit data, precipitation rates, slab conditions, and snow pack moisture content.
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.