We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is a Snow Pillow?

Mary McMahon
By
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
PillowGuide is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At PillowGuide, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A snow pillow measures the water content of snowpack, snow that accumulates on the ground. Such measurements are important for health and safety in areas where there are concerns about avalanches and other events. They can also help meteorologists make predictions about water resources, as melting snowpack is a significant source of water in some regions. There may also be concerns about the quality and depth of snow in areas where winter sports like skiing are popular, or in communities where roof cave-ins caused by snow are a known issue.

The device consists of sheets of stainless steel forming an airtight pillow filled with an antifreeze solution. The snow pillow is carefully calibrated so that as snow settles on the steel and displaces the antifreeze, the equipment can measure the hydrostatic pressure. This is the pressure created by water at rest, and provides information about how much water is present in the snowpack. Since snow can fall in a variety of ways and may be of varying density, just knowing the depth of the snow isn’t enough to determine how much water it contains.

One advantage of the snow pillow design is that it can be automated. The measurements generated by the equipment can be transmitted by radio or satellite to a base station. Weather observation stations may include thermometers, wind sensors, and other devices that all return data. This allows for the collection of key information in remote areas that would be difficult or impossible to access in the winter months. Multiple stations may be deployed at key points, sometimes with multiple snow pillow installations to ensure that equipment failure doesn’t make it impossible to collect measurements.

Manufacturers of scientific instruments sometimes produce snow pillows along with accessory equipment. It is also possible to fabricate them, an approach taken in some regions. At the time the device is installed, scientists may also insert probes into the ground to collect temperature and soil moisture data. A snow pillow does require periodic maintenance, which can be performed in the summer months when it is safe to enter remote areas.

Equipment at weather stations can be damaged by harsh weather as well as animal activity. Some are also prone to vandalism, for a variety of reasons. If a station is located in an area where vandalism is a problem, it may be fenced and posted with no trespassing signs to deter unwanted human visitors. If researchers cannot collect data from one or more stations, this could impede their ability to make accurate weather and water supply predictions.

PillowGuide is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a PillowGuide researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
PillowGuide, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

PillowGuide, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.