NASA's Airborne Snow Observatory aided Calif. water supply

12/10/2013 | United Press International

NASA is touting its prototype Airborne Snow Observatory mission, saying that it helped water managers optimize operations in California this summer. "For the first time, Airborne Snow Observatory data are telling us the total water in the snowpack in the watershed and the absorption of sunlight that control its melt speed, enabling us to estimate how much water will flow out of a basin when the snow melts," said observatory principal investigator Tom Painter at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. During an extremely dry year in California, the project helped keep the reservoir and dam that serve the San Francisco Bay Area full, allowing more efficient water allocation, he added.

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