Friday, February 29, 2008

more snow

Today I had the opportunity to ski near Red Mountain Pass in Colorado's San Juan Mountains (the other side of the mountains from All My Faults are Stress Related) when I skied next to the Idorado Snotel measuring station. I just had to take the picture that backs up my last post that we have a boat load of snow here in the headwaters of the Uncompahgre River. Yes, the chain link fence surrounding the station is a full 6 feet high.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

snowpack in the rockies

I have had the greatest time reading geology blogs such as Apparent Dip. Magma Cum Laude, The Lost geologist, NOVA Geo blog and Ron Schott's page and thought I would join in the action. I didn't link these blogs as I thought it would be presumptuous on my part without asking them.

One of my passions is watching how changes in each winter's snow pack influences how our spring and summer will behave. This is especially true for those of us who are looking forward to river trips in the warmer weather. Also I love data!

This graph courtesy of the National Resources Conservation Service. The black line shows this year's totals to date as compared to the last few years and to the 30 year average. It is plain to see that we are on track for record breaking snow in our river basin. But, what is interesting to see is how quickly the snow melts once the weather turns warm. A study done at the University of Colorado shows that the snow in the upper Colorado Basin has melted out about o.4 days earlier per year over the last 30 years for a melt out two weeks earlier than the 1970's. What will this year look like? A fast melt with flooding? A slow melt with full streams throughout the summer? Stay tuned to find out.