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Snow Depth over Central North America: 1966-2018

Authors: Logan Soldo*, Rutgers University, David A. Robinson, Rutgers University, Thomas L. Mote, University of Georgia
Topics: Climatology and Meteorology, Cryosphere
Keywords: Climate, In-situ, Cryosphere, Snow
Session Type: Guided Poster
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

While a number of previous studies have explored snow cover extent over central North America, few have examined snow extent and depth. Evaluating depth provides a more complete understanding of the impact of snow cover on the environment than simply looking at extent. This includes a better estimate of surface albedo, how well the snow insulates the underlying soil, and an idea of the snowpack water content. Thus knowledge of snow depth contributes to a better understanding of snow’s role in ecological systems, weather forecasting and flood prediction. We report here on a study that first develops a climatology of snow depth from 1966-2018 using in-situ measurements of the United States Cooperative Observer Program (COOP) and the Meteorological Service of Canada. Station reports are averaged within 118 grid cells. The study region is situated east of the Rocky Mountains from the Texas Panhandle to southern Alberta. With a background climatology in place, analyses of the spatial and temporal variability of snow depth are conducted. This includes an analysis of means, extremes, and seasonal timing of depth on regional to sub-regional scales. Since the dataset being used covers a time period of 52 years, annual and decadal scale trends will be reported. This data analysis will further our understanding of ephemeral snow in the mid-latitudes. This study also provides modelers with a means of validating snow depth models using in-situ data.

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