Snow pack data points to better than expected

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Lex Story, Apr 6, 2013.

  1. Gary Knowels

    Gary Knowels Active Member

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    I think it is interesting that while the max snow peak is greater in the older data set, the melt out seems to finish earlier as well. Points to a shift in climate towards more moderate climate instead of extremes on both ends.
     
  2. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

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    Seems to me this very subject came up within the past year or so and someone mentioned that indeed that was the case. Some measurement stations that had been in place for decades had been moved or abandoned as there was no longer any snow to measure at their old position.

    K
     
  3. Vladimir Steblina

    Vladimir Steblina Retired Forester...now fishing instead of working

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    I think the PRIMARY purpose of Sno-Tel sites is too generate estimates of electrical power generation and availability of irrigation water for the water year. I suspect that is the reason for 20 year rollover average. PUD's and irrigation districts need accurate estimates that they can compare to recent time frames to see if they will need to purchase or how much surplus electricity they will have to sell. Likewise irrigation districts need to notify junior water right holders if there is not enough water for them.

    So the sites on generally picked on that basis. Some poorly located sites are dropped because they do not ADD INFORMATION.

    I was involved with one site that was moved due to Wilderness classification. The new site was a very poor predictor of run-off and the PUD wanted back to the original site. Both sites were calibrated for baseline conditions, and the correlation was poor between the two sites. So the PUD wanted back to the original site since their flow estimates for the coming year were pretty poor with the new site.

    Because of the trend lines there is some important data there, and it can be easily reconstructed if you want long-term trends. The problem is sometimes the stuff you measure changes over time along with the measurement techniques. Lots of problems with data measurement over a hundred years. Go look at the Natiional Weather Service data for eastern Washington.

    I read a report by BPA once, and they had a cool graphic showing Columbia River flows year by year since I believe 1930 or so. That's 80 years of data that should be pretty consistent....but if the analysis shows warming, how are we not sure that it is the dam operation, the Columbia Basin irrigation project, or reforestation in the Cascades.

    I did do a study one time when I found timber cruise data for the Wenatchee National Forest from the early 1900's. The cruise data showed 3,000 bd. ft/acre in 1900 and 20,000 bd.ft/acre in 1990. In 1990 there were almost 2,000 trees per acre on that landscape.

    That is a hell of a change!! How did that change on several million acres affect river flows??

    My concern with global warming is that there is a lot more effort going into computer modeling than actually collecting field data and observations.

    For example, there is some evidence that jet contrails as responsible for as much as 40% of global warming. Satellite pictures actually show contrails morphing in clouds and then temperatures for gone up for NIGHTTIME, but not DAYTIME. Which fits pretty good with observation.

    There is one theory we can test pretty quickly by stopping commercial jet flights for five years or so.....notice only Europeans are talking about reducing jet flights!! Boy, if President Obama would support a jet flight moratorium we would be able to start testing some theories!!
     
  4. cabezon

    cabezon Sculpin Enterprises

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    Very interesting comment on the role of contrails. I remember that after 9/11, scientists used the flight moratorium to estimate the impact of contrails on U.S. climate. I found a nice NOVA summary of some of the issues and opinions on their impact. You can read that here: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/space/contrail-effect.html.

    Steve
     
  5. Richard Olmstead

    Richard Olmstead BigDog

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    Vladimir, I appreciate your insights that have obviously come from years of experience 'on the ground' and following the science, but this quote from your last post:

    "My concern with global warming is that there is a lot more effort going into computer modeling than actually collecting field data and observations."

    is so far off the truth of climate change research that I'm baffled as to where it came from.

    Yes, climatologists use models to make predictions, which often are featured in media representations of climate change, and, yes, there are many excellent theoretical climatologists involved with this research, but they are dwarfed in terms of research funding and numbers of scientists involved by the researchers out there conducting empirical experiments and gathering data, which, in turn, feed back into the models that continue to be improved.

    Dick
     
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  6. The Dude

    The Dude Member

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    One thing to note about the chart above. Snow Water equivalent peak in March is not reflective of snow fall peak depth. Water equivalent is effected by settling/compaction and melting due ground tempature rise. They measure this by weight of a give volume of snow.
     
  7. Vladimir Steblina

    Vladimir Steblina Retired Forester...now fishing instead of working

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    Your right on that.

    I guess what I meant to say was that the discussion is focused on the models rather than field data and observations.

    I have been reading lots of interesting stuff on climate change over the past several millenium. All that change was before the industrial revolution. The last hundred years might be unusual in having a stable climate.

    I have read that current climate change will "move" ecosystems 300 miles north in a hundred years and raise havoc with native species and vegetation. Well, the change in grassland,desert, and forest ecosystems from 1900 to today is MUCH MORE SIGNIFICANT than 300 miles. We survived that as a society and thrived through that ecosystem change.

    Now it is not change that I wanted to see as a professional Forester, however, the big change ecosystem change in north America already happened. Climate change predictions are minor compared to the past hundred years.

    As to models....I built and ran timber growth and yield models early in my career for both private and public timber supplies. I remember the environmental community calling the models "hocus, pocus" etc.

    Now a timber growth and yield model is pretty simple and straight forward and is actually based on real field data. Those same folks are using climate change models as gospel. Talk about hocus, pocus!!

    Climate change models are a thousand more times in magnitude in complexity and very hard to find verification over short time frames like a couple of decades.

    It does appear the climate change is occurring, but it has been occurring for thousands of years. We might or might not be responsible for it.

    The public focus is about "religion" and "values" of climate change rather than science. Which is why the media is focused on coal fired generating plants while ignoring jet contrails. I suspect the elites in this country do not want to give up their jet set lifestyle. Saving the planet has limits you know.
     
  8. Alex MacDonald

    Alex MacDonald that's His Lordship, to you.....

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    All I can say is, there's a ton of snow around the Enchantments right now, and more last night.