Autonomous Snow and Ice Measurement


SAMS Enterprise manufacture novel autonomous devices that provide reliable measurement of snow and ice structure. These devices from SAMS Enterprise allow monitoring of ice or snow thickness, movement and temperature profiles, whilst resolving any air, ice or water interfaces.

Originally designed for monitoring Polar sea-ice, SIMBA (Snow Ice Mass Balance Array) units comprise an autonomous platform and a chain of digital temperature chip sensors. The devices capture unique data that are not available through Satellite or other means. The instrument is compact and easy to deploy via a 5cm auger hole. A standard SIMBA chain is capable of providing a temperature profile across 4.8m of length, with temperature readings made every 2cm accurate to +/- 0.0625°C (other lengths available). The units also incorporate data telemetry (via Iridium SBD), have in-built GPS for tracking sea-ice movement, a magnetometer for tilt and floe rotation, and a barometer for surface air pressure. An internal and external sensor can also be provided for local ambient air temperature readings and pelicase temperature.

SIMBA provides a reliable means for continuous monitoring of Polar ice thickness (growth and decay), providing time evolution across annual cycles. The low cost allows multiple unit deployment in an array, to improve spatial variability data. The data obtained is ideally suited for process model evaluation (e.g., determination of ice-ocean energy exchange), for weather forecasting in Polar Regions and for monitoring of sea-ice thickness/state for transport and shipping applications.

SIMBA also has a number of terrestrial applications. The devices can be used to monitor snow melt (flooding prediction) and to the structure of the snowpack in mountainous areas (avalanche predicitons). In
the remote Arctic territories, SIMBA units can be deployed for real-time monitoring of Ice Road conditions.

SIMBA units have been deployed in Scotland, the Arctic and Antarctic regions for 6+ years.

Data collected includes:

>Temperature data every 2cm across 4.8m of length/depth through snow/ice/water,
>Ability to resolve interfaces (air-snow, snow-ice, ice-ocean)
>Heating and cooling profile to gain information on thermal characteristics and flow velocity (8 configurable options)
>Environmental air temperature data, to allow for ambient comparison,
>Pressure changes from an on-board barometer,
>Changes in the physical processes in the ice e.g. break up using an accelerometer,
>Bearing reports to analyse floe rotation.
>Data recorded regularly and transmitted via email with location and positioning information,
>Web interface available for status monitoring and observing live data,
>Complete back-up of data maintained by SRSL,
>Long battery life (>1 year). Light (~20Kg) and small enough to be delivered to deployment sites by helicopter.
>Rugged, IP66 rated housings proven in polar environments.

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