Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search


Snow Storm Provides Crucial Information For Scientists

Snow Storm Provides Crucial Information For Scientists

While South Islanders are being warned to stay at home and prepare for the biggest storm predicted since 1992, NIWA scientists will be putting on their wet weather gear and heading out to measure snow-fall.
Throughout the storm NIWA is mobilising teams in the South Island to gather much needed information about snow-fall at low elevation.
Hydrologist Dr Christian Zammit calls it snow mobilisation, where snow experts go out gathering snow related information, such as depth and vertical density at specific locations.
“We have very little New Zealand specific information about snow-fall at low elevation so gathering information from this storm is important. In the future this information could help prevent building collapses, stock loss and indicate areas that power lines are vulnerable to ice, snow and wind.”
Dr Zammit is also assisting GNS Science by looking at the amount of ground-water that is produced from snow melt. This water has the potential to create landslides or to saturate the soil making it vulnerable to flooding if heavy rain strikes.
Since 2009, NIWA scientists have been taking recordings of ground snow below 300 metres to gather data that is relevant to New Zealand snow conditions at low elevation. Historically information used locally has been based on snow standards from Australia and America, but what is needed is local information.
“We still need a lot more information and that is why we are sending all our teams out, who are well prepared for working in severe weather conditions.
“We need to better quantify how snow ice and wind interact with infrastructure, such as buildings and power line networks.”
Dr Zammit says the information he is gathering about snow depth and density is important for the Building and Housing Group, at the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment, to inform building standards and codes. The Group needs accurate information about how ground snow is translated into load on the roof.
“We have adapted a weather model to predict snow amounts. In the future this tool could be used to help alert utility operators of possible infrastructure damage from snow and the need to have repair crews on standby.”
For the next few days NIWA is predicting the heaviest snow falls will be inland and in north Canterbury, therefore the Christchurch-based team is preparing to make measurements in these areas as conditions permit.
The public can also help NIWA gather snowfall information by measuring the snowfall in areas of low elevations around their homes.
For instructions on how to measure snowfall, and how to send the information in to NIWA, go to the webpage How Deep is the Snow at your Place? (
We encourage people to, in all circumstances, put safety first and follow instructions issued by the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management, before venturing outdoors.


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


DIY: Kiwi Ingenuity And Masking Tape Saves Chick

Kiwi ingenuity and masking tape has saved a Kiwi chick after its egg was badly damaged endangering the chick's life. The egg was delivered to Kiwi Encounter at Rainbow Springs in Rotorua 14 days ago by a DOC worker with a large hole in its shell and against all odds has just successfully hatched. More>>


Trade: Key To Lead Mission To India; ASEAN FTA Review Announced

Prime Minister John Key will lead a trade delegation to India next week, saying the pursuit of a free trade agreement with the protectionist giant is "the primary reason we're going" but playing down the likelihood of early progress. More>>



MYOB: Digital Signatures Go Live

From today, Inland Revenue will begin accepting “digital signatures”, saving businesses and their accountants a huge amount of administration time and further reducing the need for pen and paper in the workplace. More>>

Oil Searches: Norway's Statoil Quits Reinga Basin

Statoil, the Norwegian state-owned oil company, has given up oil and gas exploration in Northland's Reinga Basin, saying the probably of a find was 'too low'. More>>


Modern Living: Auckland Development Blowouts Reminiscent Of Run Up To GFC

The collapse of property developments in Auckland is "almost groundhog day" to the run-up of the global financial crisis in 2007/2008 as banks refuse to fund projects due to blowouts in construction and labour costs, says John Kensington, the author of KPMG's Financial Institutions Performance Survey. More>>


Health: New Zealand's First ‘No Sugary Drinks’ Logo Unveiled

New Zealand’s first “no sugary drinks logo” has been unveiled at an event in Wellington... It will empower communities around New Zealand to lift their health and wellbeing and send a clear message about the damage caused by too much sugar in our diets. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news