Thursday, October 5, 2017

Is High North Snow Here to Stay?

I'm traveling today to climates far from snow and wondering how much of the snow that currently sits at high elevations, mainly on aspects facing the northern half of the compass, is here to stay. 

In Utah, most of the energy for melting snow comes from the sun.  We are now in October, beyond the fall equinox.  Those north facing slopes are not receiving much solar radiation anymore.  If we got a warm storm, perhaps long-wave radiation from clouds and condensational warming could eat some snow, but such storms become increasingly rare as we move through October.  Finally, temperatures just aren't very high this time of year, so even on warm days, the flux of energy from the atmosphere into the snowpack is relatively modest.  There's even a cold front coming in Sundayish to help with the effort. 

Your thoughts? Is the snow here to stay? 


  1. I took a hike up Red Baldy yesterday and found about 8-12" of snow on the due north. It was still dry when I left at 3pm. With early next weeks forecast of mostly dry/cold I think we'll have a nice layer of facets

  2. I drove up to Guardsmen's pass yesterday and it didn't look as bleak there. My thought is that above 9500' or so on the north third of the compass we will have a nasty weak layer to contend with unless there is some unusual weather event. If this is the only one it shouldn't take too long to heal once we get a significant snowpack. Hopefully we don't get another layer that sits and rots for a month or else we could be in for it.