Putting the capital ‘A’ in CoCoRAHS: an experimental programme to measure albedo using the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow (CoCoRaHS) Network


The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow (CoCoRaHS) Network is a community-based network of weather observers and the largest provider of daily precipitation observations in the USA. In this study, we embrace the CoCoRaHS mission to use low-cost measurement tools, provide training and education, and utilize an interactive website to create the first volunteer snow albedo network to collect high-quality albedo data for research and education applications. We trained a sub-set of 18 CoCoRaHS observers in the state of New Hampshire to collect albedo, snow depth, and snow density between 23 November 2011 and 15 March 2012. At less than $700 per observer, CoCoRAHS data measured using an Apogee MP-200 pyranometer fall within ±0.05 of albedo values collected from a Kipp and Zonen CMA6 at local solar noon. CoCoRAHS values range from 0.99 for fresh snow to 0.34 for shallow, aged snow. Snow-free albedo ranges from 0.09 to 0.39, depending on the underlying ground cover. In the 2011/2012 dataset, albedo increases logarithmically with snow depth and decreases linearly with snow density. The latter relationship is inferred to be a proxy for increasing snow grain size as snowpack ages and compacts, supported by spectral albedo measurements collected with an Analytical Spectral Devices FieldSpec 4 spectrometer.


Earth Sciences, Earth Systems Research Center

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Hydrological Processes



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Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.