Snowpack Micrometeorology

March 09, 2004


Provided and copyright by: Paul Williams, Red Deer College
Summary authors & editors: Paul Williams

The above photo, showing a weed protruding the snow, was captured on February 25, 2004 in Red Deer, Alberta. Although spring is not here yet, the Sun is getting higher and higher in the sky. At the end of February, the temperatures were slightly above freezing for at least part of each day. The remains of the plant shown here (a flowering weed called Goat's Beard) were frozen in place just below the snow surface. As the snowpack settled, the plant was slightly exposed to the Sun, allowing it to absorb heat and re-emit it to the surroundings, thus melting the hole in the snow. The aperture of this hole is about 2.5 cm (1 in) in diameter, and the snowpack is about 20 cm (8 in) deep.

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