Research and Application of Ice Thickness and Snow Depth Automatic Monitoring System
The ice thickness and snow depth are the basic parameters of conventional weather observation, environmental monitoring, and hydrological services in winter. Moreover, they are also classified as the key observation contents of the polar scientific expedition for analyzing global climate changes. In this paper, an ice thickness measuring method based on temperature gradient differences in air, ice, and water and a snow depth detection method based on differences in optical intensity attenuation induced by infrared light going through air or snow are proposed. Based on these methods, a monitoring system was fabricated to monitor the ice and snow in the Heilongjiang River of China, where the ambient temperature is below −30 °C and the river ice is covered with snow in winter. The results indicate that the system achieved a measurement precision of 0.01 m for both the ice thickness (in the range of 0–2 m) and snow depth detection (in the depth range of 0–0.5 m). The proposed system has the potential to be used for real-time monitoring of the growth, melting, and changing processes of river ice and snow.