Snowpack

A researcher collects winter data from the weather station.
Weather stations collect a variety of information, including soil temps and snowpack.

A critical feature of climate in high-latitude regions is the presence of a seasonal snowpack. Snowpack has a major influence on hydrology, vegetation, and faunal communities. Snow cover protects and insulates the ground and low-lying plants, reduces desiccation, and maintains ground temperatures near the freezing level. The insulating capacity of the snow is determined by its depth and density. Snow cover dynamics and duration are controlled by physical metamorphism, phase changes, and chemical transformations, which themselves are driven by interactions with atmospheric and soil systems and plant and animal communities. Snowpack has a major influence on hydrology, vegetation, and wildlife within the Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve.

A main objective of the snowpack monitoring program is to record long-term trends in snow and monitor changes in the extent, duration, and character of the seasonal snow cover. We work collaboratively with the Natural Resources Conservation Service to survey measure snow depth and density and year-round precipitation in all three Central Alaska parks.

Contact: Pam Sousanes

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