Terra Satellite (image) NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Share Print E-Mail Caption Fresh white snow can reflect up to 90 percent of sunlight, but with dust on the snow more light is absorbed and the snowpack melts at a much higher rate during runoff season, so measuring the dust can help better forecast water flow. NASA satellites Terra (shown in this artist's concept) and Aqua can detect dust in the snow to estimate the additional heat-producing energy absorbed by the snowpack, which is factored into the water runoff forecasting model. With this information, water managers can make better allocation decisions pertaining to drinking water, food, energy and ecosystem needs. Credit NASA Usage Restrictions None Share Print E-Mail Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.