Researchers in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska are looking for backcountry enthusiasts who want to aid a science mission.
A program funded by NASA is recruiting citizen scientists to measure snow levels in mountain terrain. The goal is better estimates of the water contained by snow in a watershed.
Oregon State University engineer David Hill says measurements taken by backcountry skiers, snowboarders and snowmobile riders have proven valuable in lowering the error rate of computer simulations of snow pack.
The citizen snow-measuring program is called Community Snow Observations.
Citizen scientists measure snow depth with avalanche probes and load the information into a smartphone app, which records the location and sends the data to researchers.
NASA spokesman Kevin Murphy says citizen scientists can provide information to augment the agency's satellite or aircraft measurements.