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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

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Its been saddening watching the years snowpack and climate. As someone who does private rafting trips and is a professional ski instructor during the winter its hard not to bear witness to the changing climate of the west.

In Cedar City its been like mid-spring for 3.5 weeks with 2 days of snow to break it up. Short sleeve shirts and light pants weather during what is historically our coldest period, like -20F. And we aren't getting any of the increased moisture content that should align with warmer temps. Instead its been dry and warm.

And as has been mentioned here already....those statistics are dummed down each year when these drought years influence the 20 years averages. Not good.

Phillip
 

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Not yet. Still over 100% of the 20 year average here, but with no real storms forecast I am starting to have a little concern.... The months of March and April will make or break our season, like usual.
 

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Lots of winter left. As the say with financial reports "Past performance is not an indicator of future results" Hopefully will take a turn for the cold and wet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Lots of winter left. As the say with financial reports "Past performance is not an indicator of future results" Hopefully will take a turn for the cold and wet.
However, the cycle we're in now...........

or

However, because of global warming, (aka climate change) ...........

======

.......... one should consider a smaller boat and/or earlier dates.
 

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The always popular
Thanks for that link, never seen it before but its real handy for visual updates.

I definitely understand optimism but its hard to lean that way where I live when average years are few and far between now. Spring is our heaviest and most productive month as well but even if we get average amounts of spring snow the accumulated amount is still less than normal.

Those numbers for California and Oregon are depressing for boating and frightening ecologically.

Potentially a good year for several small drainages in Utah though....might be a chance to get after the Dirty Devil and Escalante.

Phillip
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
frightening ecologically

Two things to consider in the slightly larger picture.

As was pointed out earlier the average changes.
When in an extended droughtish period there is a lower average that the Snow Pack Water Content works off of.

Also, lower elevation snow pack isn't measured by the stations we look at.
Those places really fall off in warmer years like these.
That can create sort of a geometric progression in reduced water resources.
 

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Historically the emphasis has been the snow in the mountains.

With the new normal becoming less of that the lower elevation water loss becomes more important than it used to be.
Thanks for clear explanation.

I know in SW Utah our snow line has changed in the last few years. It was Christmas before we got our first real snow storm of the year. We are already snowless again. Normally by mid-November we have snow that sticks and weeks of bitter cold from mid-December to late January. And its not just us in SW Utah; was just skiing at Sundance 2 weeks ago and it was raining on the lower resort for 3 days straight.

The author who just wrote about Wasatach snow mentioned that data analysis seems to be showing that the new snow line is rising in altitude. I think regionally it has risen to closer to 7000 feet, which puts were I live in for some major change (5700 ft). I assume there will be pros (earlier releases?) and cons (shorter seasons?) if that holds out but its hard not to be sad as rivers like the Virgin have relatively fewer years of average flows.

Maybe things will turn around but I am not holding my breathe.

Phillip
 

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One thing rarely considered is the moisture in the ground. I remember 2012 was not a great snowpack year for the Colorado River basin but more water ran all summer because 2011 was such a good year compared to other average years following drier years. I would think more snowmelt makes it to the rivers following wetter Fall seasons.
 

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One thing rarely considered is the moisture in the ground. I remember 2012 was not a great snowpack year for the Colorado River basin but more water ran all summer because 2011 was such a good year compared to other average years following drier years. I would think more snowmelt makes it to the rivers following wetter Fall seasons.
I wish we could be carried by our rain in the fall, though it undoubtedly has an affect.

Our soil moisture percentage is actually lower than last year, one of worst years in SW Utah since I have lived here. Soil temperatures are roughly the same but its got less content by 5-10% depending on location and sensor.

That said....I am not a soil scientist or hydrologist so when we start to go that far into details I am at a loss.

Phillip
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
One thing rarely considered is the moisture in the ground. I remember 2012 was not a great snowpack year for the Colorado River basin but more water ran all summer because 2011 was such a good year compared to other average years following drier years. I would think more snowmelt makes it to the rivers following wetter Fall seasons.
Very True.

With the normal precip here in Oregon throughout this winter so far, that should be a big help.

Another odd circumstance is frozen ground not allowing melt to penetrate the soils. This is an odd timing thing. Ground gets rain wet early and a hard freeze hits late fall/early winter. Then that gets insulated by snow. Runoff city.
 

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I know it's different out there in the great PNW, but it's counter-intuitive here in Colorado. Boaters outs here hate boating on water. Last year was a total disaster here on the front range because the rocks were covered and nobody could get out. Low snowpack? It's gonna be sick!
 
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