Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)

12-2011

Type of Culminating Activity

Thesis

Degree Title

Master of Science in Civil Engineering

Department

Civil Engineering

Major Advisor

Sondra M. Miller Ph.D., P.E.

Abstract

In semi-arid regions, like southwest Idaho, snowmelt is a significant source of water. Anthropogenic activities continue to increase demand for this vital natural resource. Water resource managers must be able to quantify both the timing and quality of snowmelt. Atmospheric contaminants can deposit on the snow, altering its physical properties. For example, deposition of atmospheric particulate matter (PM) can cause snow to darken, thereby increasing radiative forcing on the snowpack, potentially causing a change in snowmelt timing.

This research is to calibrate a laser particulate counter (LPC) to a federal reference standard. The LPC provides real-time PM concentration data and can potentially be deployed in a wireless network of atmospheric sensors to measure temporal and spatial distributions. This calibration model will then be used to calibrate other LPCs for use in the network. This work will improve our understanding of the environment through real-time atmospheric monitoring in remote locations and over heterogeneous topography.

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