Our core product is the Multi Angle Snowflake Camera (MASC). The MASC fills a void in the instrumentation that is currently available for studying precipitation. It automatically measures fallspeed, while photographing in freefall particles with ten times more detail than any other similar instrument available to date. Some of the scientific problems that are currently being addressed with the MASC are cold-weather forecast model improvement, avalanche prediction and safety, present weather sensing, and 3-D modeling of hydrometeors for improved microwave (e.g. radar) scattering calculations.
The MASC takes 9 to 37 micron resolution stereographic photographs of hydrometeors from three angles, while simultaneously measuring their fall speed. The cameras are triggered by a vertically stacked bank of sensitive IR motions sensors designed to filter out slow variations in ambient light. Fall speed is derived from successive triggers along the fall path.
The MASC is sensitive to snowflake sizes ranging from 100 micrometers to 3 cm (30,000 micrometers). The size range and resolution is adjustable. The instrument is robust to cold weather and runs unattended. Calibration requires only straightforward camera alignment and lens focusing using a calibration tool that attaches to the instrument. Executables for PC platforms enable image and fall speed data acquisition as well as a live internet feed from the installation site. The programs include lossless (png) image compression to facilitate with data management. Tens of thousands of images might be obtained in a single day.