(System for Acoustic Sensing of Snow)

  • The Chione, named after the Greek goddess of snow, is comprised of a microphone array and loudspeaker assembly situated in the air medium above the snow surface.
  • The device is a self-contained autonomous system that operates without a datalogger and sends and receives audible sound waves into the snowpack.
  • Reflections of the sound waves are detected in the air medium by the microphone array.
  • The digitized sound waves are subjected to signal processing that provides inputs for a mathematical model used to non-invasively determine Snow Water Equivalent (SWE), density, liquid water content and temperature.
  • Chione devices have been deployed at field locations listed in the table below to obtain data characteristic of a wide range of environments.
  • Each Chione has a base station and novel network infrastructure (ChioneNet) which was designed to connect the Chione devices to the Smart Water Systems Laboratory (SWSL) servers.
  • The network infrastructure (ChioneNet) is in place at each of the sites and can be used to collect data for other future instrumentation developed by the Smart Water Systems Lab.  
  • Further research continues to enhance the inverse mathematical model used to obtain measurements and quantify effects related to acoustic scattering, buried vegetation, ice layers, and acoustic wave interactions with frozen ground and depth hoar.  


Sensor Deployment:

Field Site
Geographic Region
Date of Deployment
Fortress Mountain (Powerline)
Rocky Mountains, Alberta
Fortress Mountain (Fortress Ridge South)
Rocky Mountains, Alberta
October 2020
Clavet Research Site
Clavet, Saskatchewan
December 2019
Foret Montmorency
January 2020
Wolf Creek Research Basin
February 2020
Old Jack Pine Site (BERMS) Site
Prince Albert, Saskatchewan
March 2020






Chione located at the LFCE research site in Clavet SK


Site Deployments


Fortress Mountain Research Basin, Powerline Location, Alberta   



Forêt Montmorency Research Station, Quebec




Fortress Mountain Research Basin, Fortress Ridge South, Alberta 




BERMS Research Site, Old Jack Pine Station, Saskatchewan 



Citations and Further Information


Kinar, N. J. and Pomeroy, J. W.: SAS2: the system for acoustic sensing of snow, Hydrological Process., 29, 4032–4050,, 2015.

Kinar, N. J. and Pomeroy, J. W.: Measurement of the physical properties of the snowpack, Reviews of Geophysics, 53, 481–544,, 2015.

Kinar, N. J. and Pomeroy, J. W.: Automated Determination of Snow Water Equivalent by Acoustic Reflectometry, Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on, 47, 3161–3167,, 2009.

Kinar, N. J. and Pomeroy, J. W.: Operational techniques for determining SWE by sound propagation through snow: I. General theory, 65, 309–323, 2008a.

Kinar, N. J. and Pomeroy, J. W.: Operational techniques for determining SWE by sound propagation through snow: II. Instrumentation and testing, 65, 19–33, 2008b.

Kinar, N. J. and Pomeroy, J. W.: Determining Snow Water Equivalent by Acoustic Sounding, 21, 2623–2640,, 2007.