The spatial distribution of the water stored in the snow is of great importance for the optimal energy use of the power plant storage. (Storage used due to snow melt). At present, the snow cover is mainly recorded via selective snow depth measurements with a small number of measuring stations and is therefore not representative for snow cover with high spatial variability.

The aim of the “SnowPower” project, which is being implemented in cooperation with VERBUND, is to record the snow depth in the catchment area of storage power plants. In a next step, the amount of runoff due to snowmelt can be derived with the help of hydrological models and the control of the power plants can be optimized. However, the areas to be examined are in (high) alpine terrain and are hardly or not at all accessible. Therefore, we resort to the application of remote sensing methods such as photogrammetry, which allows measuring in photos and extracting 3D information from them.

The principle applied of determining the snow depth is based on the difference between digital elevation models with and without snow cover. In the years 2019/20 drone-based measurements of the snow depths were carried out, whereby the suitability of UAV photogrammetry could be confirmed. In 2021 we have tested various drones and sensors as well as data acquisition using aircraft and satellites in order to be able to define the most suitable method for recording snow depths.

Die Erkenntnisse aus dem Methodenvergleich liefern die Grundlage für die Messungen und Tätigkeiten in den Jahren 2022 bis 2023, in denen die Schneehöhenmessungen bereits auf ein weiteres Einzugsgebiet ausgeweitet werden. Aktuell liegt der Fokus auf der großräumigen Umsetzbarkeit der Methodik und der Überprüfung dieser unter veränderten topografischen Bedingungen.