Snow Water Equivalent

USDA / Natural Resources Conservation Service / National Water and Climate Center


SNOTEL Site: Ebbetts Pass, CA
Site Number: 462
Latitude: 38 deg; 33min N
Longitude: 119 deg; 48 min W
Elevation: 8765 feet

SNOW WATER EQUIVALENT CABINET is a data sculpture illustrating snowpack measurements recorded at Ebbetts Pass in the Sierra Nevadas of California. Sourcing SNOTEL data archived on the National Water and Climate Center's website, 31 total water years of data are represented, from 1980 - 2010. The height of each drawer layer correlates to the annual total precipitation by year - the less water available in the snowpack, the less storage space available in the drawer. The sculpted plywood is a three dimensional graph of the amount of water in the snow-pack at any given time during the water year going back to 1980 at the bottom.

SNOTEL stands for SNOwpack TELemetry. Snow Water Equivalent (SWE) is the amount of water contained within the snowpack. It can be thought of as the depth of water that would theoretically result if you melted the entire snowpack instantaneously. The formula is a function of snow density and depth.

concept sketches 

data source, NWCC SNOTEL website

31 graphs of water years 1980-2010

carcass assembly / staining

every drawer a different dimension

adrien segal © 2019 /