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May 1 Yosemite Snow Survey Results

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avatar May 1 Yosemite Snow Survey Results
May 05, 2016 02:36PM
Park Staff have completed the May 1 snow surveys. The water content of the snowpack in the Tuolumne drainage is 57% of average; in the Merced drainage it is 63% of average.
Re: May 1 Yosemite Snow Survey Results
May 07, 2016 11:57AM
So is it considered a low year?

At what point does "average" get changed?
Re: May 1 Yosemite Snow Survey Results
May 08, 2016 11:41AM
Quote
hotrod4x5
So is it considered a low year?

At what point does "average" get changed?

If California uses the same standard as the National Weather Service (and I don't if it is or is not), it is a 30 average calculated from 1981 to 2010. The average is recalculated every 10 years, the next one will be 1991 to 2020. NOAA also maintains records for a 100 year average and the previous 30 year averages.
Re: May 1 Yosemite Snow Survey Results
May 09, 2016 11:14AM
Interesting. That I did not know. Gotta leave it to minds greater then mine I guess. I'd still be curious to know if the average from 91 to 2020 really changed that much from the previous 30yr. I know most of you guys happen to live in the bay area so you get a lot of your info and feeling on how the water and snow situation is going from your trips up here and water reports and stuff but I live up here and I can tell you this year was a marked improvement from last for sure. And this spring has been has been much closer to an average spring then we've had in many years. While its true that the snow pack is Californias largest reservoir all the rest of our reservoirs were not even close to full last year when we didn't have any snow pack at all the entire winter and we managed. This year a lot of those reservoirs are filling at a very healthy rate. Melones Reservoir for example already has over 100 thousand AF more water this year at this date then it did last year, and the key difference is its still climbing from what snow is left and the currently pretty constant rainfall we have had. Last Year Melones hit its peak around March 1st. From living here through quite a few of them this last winter and this spring are definitely different then the last few we've had in recent years both of which are much closer to what we were originally calling normal.


All very interesting stuff though. I know just like how health care can be a very personal and touchy subject it feels like the weather and what is actually going on can be just as touchy. Being that I'm just 1 guy and theres' nothing I can really do to change any of it anyway I figure i'm just along for the ride and might as well find some way to enjoy it no matter what it does. I do have a pretty strong hunch though that this will be one of our last warm years. I have a feeling our next winter is going to be a cold one and its just going to get colder after that.
avatar Re: May 1 Yosemite Snow Survey Results
May 08, 2016 12:01PM
On average:

One foot frozen in ice and the other stuck in a fire. On average things are OK.



Old Dude
avatar Re: May 1 Yosemite Snow Survey Results
May 08, 2016 12:06PM
Just don't call it "normal".
Re: May 1 Yosemite Snow Survey Results
May 08, 2016 10:17AM
57% and 63% is definitely low. But not catastrophically low like last year.


Considering the "Average" they talk about is like a 100 year average a few years of drought is not going to be enough to change that. Give it another 15-25 years of this and then it might actually affect what the average is for the entire recorded history of snow pack for this area.
Re: May 1 Yosemite Snow Survey Results
May 09, 2016 10:33AM
Quote
randomsteve95370
57% and 63% is definitely low. But not catastrophically low like last year.

As always, there is more to the story than just the final results. If you look at the individual courses that make up the final aggregate result you'll see that the courses at roughly 8,000' and above are at ~80% of average while the course below that are generally much lower, 40% to 0%. I think this can be attributed to two factors, a higher than average snowline and spring runoff starting earlier. The higher snowline means more rain and less snow at the 7,000' to 8,000' band, depositing less snow and melting existing snow. Spring runoff typically started after April 1, hence why the April 1 snow survey is considered the benchmark survey, but it seems runoff is starting earlier, so there is less snow when comparing a given date with on in year's past.

This may mean that we got the same amount of water as precipitation this year as in average year (I'm not sure, more of a hypothetical) but less of it is currently snow. That itself is important as the snowpack is the state's biggest reservoir by far. This also corresponds to the predictions of climate change, a higher snow line, less snow, more rain and earlier runoff. This winter maybe the new 'normal'.

Also, one shouldn't think that with a low overall snowpack they'll be able to hike in the high country without snow soon.
Re: May 1 Yosemite Snow Survey Results
May 11, 2016 09:11AM
This May the Central and Southern Sierra shows a significant change from areas of little or no snow to areas of a lot of snow. Thus the survey is somewhat skewed. If higher elevations are only considered where we enthusiasts backpack at during the summer, there are more normal snow depths in the Central Sierra while the Southern Sierra simply was missed by many of the larger storms.

http://www.nohrsc.noaa.gov/interactive/html/map.html?ql=station&zoom=&zoom5.x=8&zoom5.y=6&loc=Latitude%2CLongitude%3B+City%2CST%3B+or+Station+ID&var=ssm_swe&dy=2016&dm=5&dd=11&dh=15&snap=1&o9=1&o12=1&o13=1&lbl=m&mode=pan&extents=us&min_x=-120.10833333333&min_y=37.258333333329&max_x=-118.23333333333&max_y=38.308333333329&coord_x=-119.17083333333&coord_y=37.783333333329&zbox_n=&zbox_s=&zbox_e=&zbox_w=&metric=0&bgvar=dem&shdvar=shading&width=800&height=450&nw=800&nh=450&h_o=0&font=0&js=1&uc=0



http://www.davidsenesac.com



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/11/2016 09:15AM by DavidSenesac.
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