Measuring Snow Reflectance: Interview with Dr. Adam Schneider

 International Love Data Week 2023 is February 13-17, 2023. The theme this year is Data: Agent of Change. We believe that the scholars whose data are hosted in Deep Blue Data are truly agents of change for their fields and their communities. Their data supports groundbreaking research in climate change, urban sustainability, behavioral science, policy change, and more.

Deep Blue Data is a repository offered by the University of Michigan Library that provides access and preservation services for digital research data that were developed or used in the support of research activities at U-M.

In honor of Love Data Week, we reached out to some recent Deep Blue Data depositors to ask about the history of their work, unique discoveries they made along the way, and how they see their data being useful to their research communities and beyond. 

We hope you enjoy learning more about the scholars behind the data sets. As a reminder, all data sets in Deep Blue Data are openly accessible for anyone to download and use, because we love data.

Dr. Adam Schneider graduated from the University of Michigan in 2018 with a PhD in Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences. His dissertation is entitled, "Earth's Cryosphere-Albedo Feedback: From the Global Scale to in Snow Metamorphosis" He deposited the data set "Supporting data for the Near-Infrared Emitting and Reflectance-Monitoring Dome" which underlies one of his published journal articles, in Deep Blue Data. In this interview, he describes his research and why he decided to share his data set publicly. 

What prompted you to conduct your research in this area?

I was always interested in how seasonal snow interacts with the climate system. Growing up in the midwest exposed me to the impact snow can have on society and pursuing a PhD in the Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering department taught me how snow's high reflectivity (aka albedo) controls the surface energy balance.

For those not familiar with your field, what is the one thing you think is most important, interesting, or unique about your work or your findings?

Our climate is very sensitive to seasonal snow cover, which partially explains why the Arctic is warming three times faster than the global average. Because the onset of snow melt initiates a process that enhances energy absorption at the surface, warmer temperatures in high latitudes and at high elevations (where there is snow) accelerate the transition from winter to spring.

What impact do you hope making your data public will have in the world? How are you hoping it might be encountered, reused, or built upon? 

For the general public, I hope that publishing data demonstrates transparency in research. For other researchers, they could use these data to build more sophisticated snow radiative transfer models that are needed to improve remote sensing information over seasonal snow.

What is one thing you learned during the process of preparing your data for deposit or sharing? 

It really helps to be organized and have clear documentation. Not only does this benefit hard working data curators and other users, but your future self!

Why do you think sharing data is important?

Sharing data builds confidence in research outcomes and allows others to go further. By publishing data with research articles, it helps readers to verify results and improves reproducibility, a fundamental concept of the scientific method.