Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Optimism for the Corn Harvest

March is winding down and what a run of cold storms we have had.  How long they continue, I don't know but I was thinking that this spring has serious potential for a major corn harvest if the weather cooperates.

First, the snowpack is enormous and it is enormous on every aspect at at all elevations.  We're not limping into spring as we have frequently over the past several years.  The ability to follow the sun, work the softening snow on differing aspects, and to have relatively easy access to adventurous terrain could be as good as it gets this spring.

Second, we have had so much snow this month that any dust layers are buried deep in the snowpack and will take some time to emerge.  Many years we have a dust emerging quickly in either March or April.  An example below from 2018.

Thus, I am optimistic for the corn harvest, but the wildcard is the weather and perhaps the timing of strong south wind events with agricultural activities that disturb the land surface.  It's helpful that it has been so wet this year, but lowland soils can desiccate quickly and agricultural fields can be huge emitters.  We have seen examples of enormous dust emissions from tilled fields in the Cedar Valley in April (see Where Today's Dust Is Really Coming From (Not Sevier Lake) from April 2018).  Such an event would sadly put a big dust layer on top of all this wonderful snow. 

Let's hope for a great transition from powder to white corn, without any snirty dancing on dust until late in the spring.  


  1. The insanity continues with another winter storm watch for 1-2 feet of mountain snow. Any dust from wind will be promptly buried. At least this storm looks like it’ll be more rain further down…

  2. I was thinking that development of a model for predicting the optimum time for corn snow on a given aspect is possible. Are you aware of any? Alternatively, is there a rule of thumb for what time of day snow will form a corn surface on various aspects in relation to air temperature, wind and solar insulation?

    1. There are snowpack models that might be adapted for this purpose, but I'm not sure if anyone has tried this.


  3. What are your thoughts on the NWS calling for a dry April after the 1st few storms? https://www.weather.gov/pub/climate2023NextMonthPreview

  4. Any credibility to the theory that a rapidly warming Arctic is destabilizing large-scale weather patterns and could possibly be (at least partially) responsible for our record snowfall this winter?

    The Arctic is look awfully warm lately, as of writing this Climate Reanalyzer has it sitting at a toasty +2.79 C, as far as a 2m temperature anomaly is concerned.