On the use of heated needle probes for measuring snow thermal conductivity

Fourteau, Kévin ; Hagenmuller, Pascal ; Roulle, Jacques ; Domine, Florent

Année de publication
<p align=justify>Heated needle probes provide the most convenient method to measure snow thermal conductivity. Recent studies have suggested that this method underestimates snow thermal conductivity; however the reasons for this discrepancy have not been elucidated. We show that it originates from the fact that, while the theory behind the method assumes that the measurements reach a logarithmic regime, this regime is not reached within the standard measurement procedure. Using the needle probe without this logarithmic regime leads to thermal conductivity underestimations of tens of percents. Moreover, we show that the poor thermal contact between the probe and the snow due to insertion damages results in a further underestimation. Thus, we encourage the use of fixed needle probes, set up before the snow season and buried under snowfalls, rather than hand-inserted probes. Finally, we propose a method to correct the measurements performed with such fixed needle probes buried in snow. This correction is based on a lookup table, derived specifically for the Hukseflux TP02 needle probe model, frequently used in snow studies. Comparison between corrected measurements and independent estimations of snow thermal conductivity obtained with numerical simulations shows an overall improvement of the needle probe values after application of the correction.</p>
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