Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Snow Depth 451

Following up on the previous post and comments, I'm now a full-blown skeptic when it comes to the Tamarack, CA seasonal snow depth record of 451 inches, as recognized by the National Climate Extremes Committee.   When I say I'm a skeptic, I'm not dismissing it, I'm just saying that I'd like to see stronger evidence as the data available online from the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) simply does not support such an extreme number, especially if it is supposed to represent the settled snow depth on level ground in a wind-sheltered area.  Ditto for other records from Tamarack.

What we need is an ambitious weather historian to follow the paper trail and possibly do some additional analysis of all the available data from the Sierra Nevada, including the historical archives from that era (e.g., newspaper, etc.).  Sorry kids, but you can't do all this on the Internet, which is precisely why I'm going back to running my computer models and hoping that one of you gets a spark of ambition to seek climatological fame and glory.   The truth?   Without a time machine, we'll never know, but it would be nice to assess the likelihood that this record is legit.  Perhaps Danny Kaffee has already won the trial and a report is buried somewhere in the NCDC archives that provides the evidence.

1 comment:

  1. I can take you exactly half-way back. As a six-year old child in Wales in 1962, I was given a copy of the Guinness Book of Records for Christmas. Wishing to show-off my apparently prodigious memory, I "memorized" it. The intent was to remember it for one year (see my Notes below). About half of the book remains imprinted in my memory. Unfortunately, this is not a complete memory of about half of the records, but the seeming uselessness of just half of each individual record.

    But of this I am certain: In 1962, they recorded the snowiest winter on earth as that of 1910-1911 in a place called Tamarack, California. I do not recall the exact depth figures they quoted then, but there were two records (for one month, and for one 12-month "season" (longer than a 3-month "winter")). I even remember noting with surprise that it was in far far off exotic and hot California. Since then, I have:
    (a) located the community of Tamarack in Calaveras County,
    (b) learned that the record setting weather station was over the county line in Alpine County,
    (c) moved to far far off exotic and hot California (but far far off from exotic Tamarack).

    I have the printed evidence right here in my mind. Neither I nor they are authoritative, but many urban legends are easily disproved by showing the claim had never been asserted until "three years ago". I can assure you honestly though, that this claim was being asserted EXACTLY half way back in the elapsed time: 1911 + 51 ==> 1962 ( + 51 ==> 2013 ).

    [1]. It was a Christmas gift to me in December 1962, but it was named the 1963 edition.
    [2]. It had a different title in other countries including the USA. Give me a break. I memorized the WHOLE thing.
    [3]. I pretty much remembered all of it for many years, but (a) I don't recall ! that it ever helped me in a school exam, and (b) it was the worst choice to memorize, as much of it was out of date by the following year.

    I'm sorry. What was your question, again?
    Christopher Benson,
    Pengelli, Swansea, Wales,
    Martinez, California, USA.