Thursday, April 9, 2009

It's Snowing!

You may wonder why the fact that it is snowing makes for a special blog post. Isn't it snowing all the time in Barrow?

Actually, the answer to that is a resounding NO. Barrow can actually be considered a desert climate, in terms of precipitation amounts. On average, Barrow receives less than 30" of snow (an equivalent of less than 5" of water). The USGS defines arid lands as those that receive less than 250 millimeters of annual rainfall (or 10" equivalent water). By comparison Buffalo, N.Y., receives an average of 80” to 100” of snow alone per year.

However, across Alaska, the amount of snowfall can be extremely varied. Southern Alaska receives far greater amounts of snow than the north. For example, Thompson Pass, a popular extreme ski and snowboard area north of Valdez, once received a record 974.5” of snow during the winter of 1952-1953 and in one 24 hour period in December 1955 the same area recorded a 62" snowfall.

The deepest recorded snow pack in all of North America occurred at Wolverine Glacier on the Kenai Peninsula during the winter of 1976-1977. The depth was 356”. Almost 30 feet deep!

By comparison, Barrow, in the dry north, received a record minimum amount of snow during the winter of 1935-1936 of only 3”.

No comments: