Snow and Ice Network

NIWA has established a network of 11 high elevation meteorological stations aiming to gather information about the amount, extent, seasonal nature and long-term change to snow and ice in alpine regions of New Zealand. Each site was selected to represent a specific weather pattern in New Zealand. This information is essential to understand, predict, and manage the resource and hazards associated with each location.  

Work carried out in this project aims to provide institutional users of the resource with information and understanding to better able to plan water use, flood protection across their activities, or avalanche risk profile (in collaboration with Mountain Safety Council). Users include; hydro-electricity generators, the Mountain Safety Council, land managers, local authorities and researchers.

 

Locations of the Snow and Ice Network

 

 

  

The approach

This project supports the semi-continuous analysis and quality control (QA/QC) of current snow information collected. Raw information is available at each site and a weekly semi-automated QA/QC has been carried out for the past five years at most of the sites. Formal QA/QC of information collected is completed for each station at the end of the snow season for assimilation into the New Zealand climate database (CLidB) ensuring information collected at each site is accessible for scientific purposes.

The remote location of the SIN stations provides a unique opportunity to New Zealand research community to develop benchmarking testing sites under different weather patterns and conditions.

Information collected through this project is completed by:

  • Monthly update of rainfall manual observer network
  • Extreme event mobilisation and post event analysis (supported by MBIE and electricity providers)

The project is funded through the Strategic Science Investment Fund from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. It supports work currently carried out as part of New Zealand international obligation through World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) such as Global Cryosphere Watch (GCW) or the Solid Precipitation Intercomparison Experiment (SPICE), national project such as the Deep South National Challenge- Impact and Implication Programme- Frozen water and Hydrology projects (link to the projects), as well as NIWA lead project New Zealand Water Model- Hydro (link to the page); Downstream impact of climate change project; Near real time state of the snow resource; as well as verification of NIWA Numerical Weather Prediction model (NZCSM) at high elevation.

Research subject: HydrologyIce