Snow driven competition picture and logos which are explained in the text


Launched: DECEMBER 7, 2021
Track 1: DECEMBER 7, 2021
Launched: DECEMBER 7, 2021
AWARDED: August 30, 2022


News Release: Reclamation awards $500,000 to winners of the Snowcast Showdown

Water resource managers use measurements and estimates of the amount of water stored in a snowpack (SWE) for streamflow and water supply forecasts, which then inform a wide range of management decisions, including managing reservoir storage levels, setting seasonal water allocations, and responding to extreme weather events such as floods and droughts.

Streamflow and water supply forecasts rely primarily on measuring SWE on the ground and air, which are limited in areas covered and times measured. High resolution satellite imagery offers promising opportunities to improve snow monitoring—using satellite imagery to estimate SWE remains an active research area. This challenge focuses on using machine learning methods that provide flexible and efficient algorithms for data-driven models and real-time prediction.

This challenge will include two tracks:

  • Track 1: Prediction Competition where solvers will develop and train machine learning models to estimate the current spatial distribution of SWE over the West. Models will be executed on a weekly basis to generate near real-time estimates of SWE throughout the winter and spring seasons. Models will be evaluated against ground truth data, and prizes will be awarded based on model performance. The total prize purse for the prediction competition is $440,000.
  • Track 2: Model Report Competition where solvers will submit additional documentation of their models. Documentation must contain additional model analysis and discussion of solution methodology, including detailed discussion of the robustness and interpretability. The total prize purse for the model report competition is $60,000.

Reclamation is partnering with Bonneville Power Administration, NASA - Goddard Space Flight Center, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, USDA - Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Geological Survey, National Center for Atmospheric Research, DrivenData, HeroX, Ensemble, and NASA Tournament Lab.

Solvers must participate in Track 1 to be eligible for Track 2. To compete in Prediction Competition (Track 1), solvers must register and submit their ideas no later February 15, 2022 at 6:59 PM EST. To compete in the Model Report Competition(Track 2), solvers must submit their model reports no later than March 15, 2022 at 6:59 PM EST.

Please visit Snowcast Showdown at to learn more and ask your competition-specific questions. 

Related Documents

News Release: 12/7/2021. Reclamation launches prize competition seeking new ideas to improve estimates of snow water equivalent (SWE) at a high spatial and temporal resolutions over the Western United States (West).

Last Updated: 10/30/23