Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Rapid Snowmelt to Our North

The snowpack was phat this year in northwest Wyoming and western Montana, but the melt this spring has been rapid.  Here are a few examples.

The Grand Targhee SNOTEL peaked at about 55 inches of snowpack water equivalent, which was above median, but the melt has been rapid and the site now sits below median for the period of record. 

Source: NRCS
At the Fisher Creek SNOTEL near Cooke City, Montana, the snowpack water equivalent nearly reached 60 inches, well above median.  The early and rapid snowmelt, however, has caused the snowpack to begin to converge on the median.  It now sits at 36.4 inches, compared to a median of 29.7.  

Source: NRCS
Despite the phat end of season snowpack, the end of snow cover at that site will probably be near median.  

Finally, there is Mount Lockhart in the Lewis Range east of Kalispell.  Mount Lockhart is on the eastern (drier) side of the range, with lower snowpack water equivalents than found at Grand Targhee or Fisher Creek, but the peak near 30 inches was well above median.  So much for that.  The rapid snowmelt has destroyed the snowpack and the end of snow cover at that site looks like it will be very close to median.  

Source: NRCS
These are tough times for the cryosphere, but they are going to get tougher. 

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