Monday, February 17, 2014

Big Graupel

Yesterday (Saturday) afternoon's convective storms produced some thundersnow and some big graupel, the latter still quite apparent on the hill today (Sunday), including these samples from Alta's High Rustler.

I often tell people that when it comes to resort skiing, I prefer graupel over cold smoke.  Graupel is high density and makes the steeps smooth as a baby's bottom.  Unlike high density wet snow, it lacks cohesion and is quite supportive.  Yesterday's storm produced 3 inches of snow with 0.42 inches of water.  That's a water content of 14%.  No need to thumb your noses at such high water contents as a few inches of graupel skis great.
The blogger's son knows a good thing when he skis it and doesn't thumb his nose at a good graupelfest
Yesterday's big graupel was the result of several factors.  One was the intensity of the convection.  Strong updrafts help to keep larger particles lofted longer, allowing them to grow to larger sizes.  Another was the warmth of the storm.  Warm storms typically have more supercooled liquid water, which is what coats small ice crystals to form graupel.

Storms like yesterday's might not produce the Greatest Snow on Earth for some, but it is just fine by me.

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