Tag Archives: snow

Snow Anyone?

In my previous posts, I sounded excited about getting a lot of snow…. well I thought we had a lot of snow at that time.  It’s nothing compared to what we recieved this weekend.  Friday’s snowstorm landed the biggest single-day’s worth of snow that any of us have ever seen.  In the evening, when the weather began to taper, Greg Roberts and Scott Noblitt, with the help of the owner of the very cool lodge they are staying at up here in the backcountry, were able to access the site via snowmobile to ensure that none of our equipment was damaged by the unreliable electric service during the storm.  When Jack, Jessie, and I arrived in the morning, we were greeted with more than 3.5 feet of new snow (on top of the 1 foot we had remaining from the previous storm).  If you have trouble grasping how much this really is… trust me, I’m still trying and I’m in the middle of it… here’s a picture of Jessie (about 5′ 5″ tall) clearing snow off to top of NOAA’s box trailer.  Remember, all of that fell in ONE DAY.

Snow on the NOAA trailer after the 2/25 storm

Jessie Creamean posing for a photo while clearing snow from the top of the NOAA trailer at Sugar Pine Dam after the storm on 2/25/11.

According to meteorological data, this past storm may have been associated with Atmospheric River conditions, a notion that jives well with the heavy precipitation we received here in the Sierra in a short amount of time.  These kinds of conditions, where water vapor is transported directly from the tropics to the western margin of North America, have been responsible for some of the heaviest rain and snowfall on record for this region.  The band of water vapor that hit the coast here on Friday moved southward to the San Diego area on Saturday, giving our friends back home a good soaking.

In terms of aerosol science, it was great to have this second storm a week after the first one: we collected some great snow samples and were able to look for reproducible conditions surrounding the two storms.  We’re collecting lots of nice data up here, and we’re all confident that we’ll learn a lot from our observations thus far.  We’re just about 10 days or so from the end of the intensive sampling campaign.  We’re looking to finish strong… I got word today that there are plans to do lots of flights over Sugar Pine Dam in the G1.  I still haven’t had the opportunity to spot them by eye over the site (every time I’ve been available to look, it’s been cloudy).

-Doug

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“Unsettled Weather – Carry Chains”

We saw this message on a motorist alert sign on I-80 today heading in the direction of Donner Pass… it seemed appropriate for the situation.  This weekend we had 3+ feet of snow dumped on the field site at Sugar Pine Dam.  Things got more interesting with electric service becoming as unpredictable as the weather.  Once we finally felt settled and stabilized our research payload, the Sugar Pine crew got a little snow-related activity in this weekend.

BlueSky

A view from the Humbug Loop in the China Wall area of Tahoe National Forest

It’s a very good thing we decided to rent those snowshoes… we simply would not have made it down the access road without them.  Knee-to-hip high snow was the norm for the ensuing 2 days… and wouldn’t you know it, we needed to transport some urgently needed (and very heavy) equipment to the site.  We decided a ski-patrol/mountain rescue procedure was in order — though we used a slightly lower-tech approach…

Snowshoe Sled

Jack and Doug utilize a mountain rescue technique to bring important supplies to the Prather Group's Portable Aerosol Observatory while it's under 3+ feet of snow.

Science-wise, we’ve all been very interested in the preliminary results at Sugar Pine.  It looks like we’ll be able to present some very interesting findings once we all get our data processed and compared.  It’s great to have multiple views of the conditions at our site, with Greg Roberts and Scott Noblitt joining us this year on a day-to-day basis.

-Doug