Measure the specific surface area (SSA) of snow

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Based on optical and laser technologies,

the IceCube provides instantaneous measurements of snow SSA in the field. The instrument is perfectly adapted to alpine and polar conditions, withstanding temperatures as low as -40 °C (-40 °F). The IceCube can work for any kind of snow, from melt-freeze crusts to fresh snow.

SSA range
2 ≤ SSA ≤ 160 m2kg-1

± 10%

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When laser lights up the snow structure

The working principle of the IceCube relies on the relation between the infrared reflectance and the specific surface area of snow. The device illuminates a snow sample, collects the reflected light and infers the reflectance of the snow. This reflectance is then converted into SSA using a radiative transfer model and calibration using the well-established methane adsorption method.

Thanks to its sample-based technique, the IceCube guarantees that no stray light can affect the measurement and the instrument therefore provides accurate results in no time.

Application cases

  • Radiative transfer calculations
  • Remote sensing validation
  • Snow chemistry (pollutant adsorption)
  • Snow grain size analysis