USACE Engineer Research and Development Center's Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory
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Mission Statement
    To investigate fundamental processes and properties of terrain and terrestrial materials as affected by weather and climate. This knowledge is applied to solve problems for the military and the Nation.

    Download the TPP Brochure.

Terrain State Characterization...

  • Understanding and modeling variables describing terrain including vegetation, snow, ice, and urban features.
  • Transport of gas, water, and vapor in snow and soils.
  • Dynamics of terrestrial material properties forced by weather and climate.
  • Impacts of environmental change on military and civil operations, including changes in terrain state, hydrology, meteorology, vegetation, snow and ice cover.

...and Cryospheric Sciences...

  • Use of autonomous buoys to develop a mass balance climatology of sea ice.
  • Ice accumulation and protection on aircraft and marine structures.
  • Permafrost degradation and its impact on infrastructure and transportation.
  • Snow microstructure and metamorphism.
  • Ice core records that provide a "window" to past climates.
  • Ice albedo feedback.
  • Glacier mass balance and outburst flooding.

...Across a Range of Scales

  • Identify terrain features and soil strength with spectral imagery.
  • Microscale simulation of thermal conduction in snow.
  • Radiant temperature variations in grass.
  • Sensor performance prediction in a variety of terrain.
  • Modeling freezing rain return periods in complex terrain.
  • Investigate past, present, and future polar climate.
  • Snow mapping using remote sensing.

Current Research Areas

  • Properties and processes of polar, terrestrial, and marine environments.
  • Physics-based models that predict terrain conditions in a wide range of environments.
  • Physical properties of snow and ice.
  • Predicting viewable gap fraction and solar flux as a function of vegetation, slope and aspect.
  • Infrared and hyperspectral terrain properties.
  • Sea ice and glacier ice mass balance.
  • Mass, energy, and chemical exchanges from microscale to synoptic scale.
  • Aviation impacts-icing, blowing dust and snow.
  • Making practical (and sometimes rapid) assessments of the character, extent and fate of the snow cover over relevant watersheds.
  • Discrete element modeling of soil, snow and floating ice properties.

Point-of-Contact for content of this page:
603-646-4230 (choose "2")

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Page last updated 5/5/14.

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Contact Information

Chief, Terrestrial and Cryospheric Sciences Branch
Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory
72 Lyme Road
Hanover, NH   03755-1290

Phone: 603-646-4230 (choose "2")


Videos and Cool Stuff


Fact Sheets (Currently Unavailable)

  • Countering Impacts of Climate Trends in Cryosphere
  • Drifting and Blowing Snow
  • Heat and Mass Transfer in Snow
  • Snow Acoustics
  • Snow Chemistry and Contaminants
  • Snow Hydrology


Facilities and Equipment

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