Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-759
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-759
16 Apr 2024
 | 16 Apr 2024
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

Blade Hardness Gauge: Snow Hardness Measuring and Analysis Techniques

Peter Karl Aird Barsevskis and Mark J. Paetkau

Abstract. The blade hardness gauge (BHG) is a promising technology for avalanche forecasters, technicians, and researchers. Designed and produced by Fraser Instruments Ltd., the BHG resembles and is based on the thin-blade tool introduced by Borstad and McClung in 2011. The BHG was designed to quantitatively measure snow hardness without the known biases of the hand hardness test. Research was carried out in the Canadian mountains of British Columbia and Alberta during the 2020–21 and 2021–22 winter seasons to test the reliability and integrity of the BHG. Side by side snow hardness profile comparison amongst avalanche practitioners shows that the BHG is more consistent for measuring snow hardness than the hand hardness test. A blade hardness to hand hardness comparative scale was developed to utilize the BHG as a teaching tool for the hand hardness test. This paper proposes refinements to standard data collection methods and techniques including the insertion rate and orientation of the thin-blade into the snowpack. These recommendations aim to increase consistency amongst users and highlight applications for avalanche practitioners to use in the field.

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Peter Karl Aird Barsevskis and Mark J. Paetkau

Status: open (until 21 Jun 2024)

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Peter Karl Aird Barsevskis and Mark J. Paetkau
Peter Karl Aird Barsevskis and Mark J. Paetkau

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Short summary
The blade hardness gauge is a promising technology for avalanche forecasters. The research set out to determine standard techniques to use the gauge with respect to insertion rate and the orientation of the gauge to the snowpack. The gauge is more consistent amongst users for measuring snow hardness compared to the use of the hand hardness test. It has the potential for use as a teaching tool for the hand hardness test and for measuring snow hardness over time.