Friday, July 20, 2012

Year to Year Climate Variations

One of our graduate students send me a few images from MODIS showing the stark contrast in snowcover between last summer and this summer.  The difference in weather between the preceding winters and springs couldn't be much bigger.  Winter 2010/11 was one of the biggest snow years ever in the Wasatch Mountains and was followed by a remarkably cold spring.  Winter 2011/12 was fairly dry and was followed by a very warm spring.

The two images below were taken on 5 Jun 2011 and 7 Jun 2012, respectively.

And these two are from 27 Jun 2011 and 28 June 2012, respectively.

The contrast is remarkable, especially with regards to mid-elevation snow in mountainous areas in early June.  Imagine the difference for plants and animals in those areas.  Last June, we were ski touring in the Wasatch a few days after the top left image was taken and noticed that the rodents were tunneling out of the snow and looking for food.

Alta, UT, 11 Jun 2011
Their foraging season was extremely short.  This year, the pendulum has swung to the opposite extreme.

We are basically experiencing nearly the full range of current climate variability and extremes in a two year stretch.

1 comment:

  1. Fires very visable in this yeras shot. Please becareful out there, it is DRY.