Center for Snow and Avalanche Studies

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Colorado Dust-on-Snow (CODOS)
With direct funding support from stakeholders, CODOS monitors the presence/absence of dust layers at 11 mountain pass locations throughout Colorado.

With those data, data from nearby Snotel sites, and weather forecasts, CODOS provides its funders with a series of “Update” analyses of how dust-on-snow is likely to influence snowmelt timing and rates during the snowmelt runoff season.

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     CODOS Updates > April 10-13 Tour Summary

CODOS Update - Second complete CODOS circuit completed

Greetings from Silverton on Monday afternoon, April 15 (tax day) -

CSAS's CODOS team has completed a full set of Updates for all ten CODOS sites, and for Senator Beck Basin, following our completion of a complete circuit of the sites last weekend.  

This CODOS circuit followed closely on the heels of dust-on-snow event D6, on April 8, 2013.  Our hope was to observe D6, where present, at the snowpack surface. Unsettled weather and new snow thwarted that kind of large-scale observation of D6, but our ten snow profiles served to verify that D6 did, in fact, fall at all those sites and on adjoining terrain, from Wolf Creek Pass to Willow Creek Pass and points between.  Intensity of that D6 deposition did vary, from very weak (at Berthoud Summit) to strong or very strong (at most of our western and southern sites).  Even in the absence of additional dust that D6 layer will have snowmelt effects ranging from severe (San Juan Mountains) to moderate (Front Range and Northern Mountains), accelerating snowmelt rates and advancing the ablation of this year's sub-par snowcover statewide.  Unfortunately, we've already logged a subsequent D7 and D8 is in progress as of this writing.  At this juncture of Spring 2013, we seem likely to experience additional dust-on-snow depositions as any significant weather systems traverses the Colorado Plateau en route to the Colorado mountains, whether wet, with precipitation, or simply as a dry system only generating wind. 

Some CODOS sites are rapidly approaching "snow all gone" (SAG) but others have yet to even become isothermal ... elevation still matters!  We anticipate at least one additional circuit of our ten 'remote' CODOS sites in early May and, of course, will sustain our intensive monitoring at Senator Beck Basin in the interim.  For those inclined to view a natural disaster as "interesting", a trip to the San Juan Mountains later this spring, and witnessing the impact of D6 (and its compatriots) on our snowcover first hand, may be a worthy busman's holiday.  If your travel funds have been sequestered, we will provide photographs as an alternative ...

Updates by Site:

Berthoud Summit (April 12)  |  Grand Mesa (April 11)  |   Grizzly Peak (April 13)  |  Hoosier Pass (April 13)
McClure Pass (April 13)  |  Park Cone (April 11)  |  Rabbit Ears Pass (April 12) |  Senator Beck Basin (April 10)
Spring Creek Pass (April 12)  |  Willow Creek Pass (April 12)  |  Wolf Creek Pass (April 12)

More soon,

Chris Landry, Executive Director
Center for Snow and Avalanche Studies
PO Box 190, Silverton, CO 81433 USA
(970) 387-5080