We have a new feature on the Sunset trail at Skyway this winter – a 30 foot tall tower equipped with weather, snowpack and radiation sensors that are continuously collecting wind speed and direction, air temperature, relative humidity, snowpack depth, and a variety of incoming and reflected solar radiation data, all solar powered.
Referred to as the Grand Mesa Study Plot, this installation is a collaborative project of the Colorado Dust-on-Snow (CODOS) program based at the Center for Snow and Avalanche Studies in Silverton, the University of Utah’s Snow Optics Laboratory, and the US Geologic Survey’s Southwest Biological Science Center in Moab, who funded the installation. The GMSP adds an important new site monitoring changes in snowpack reflectance (albedo) and solar energy absorption caused by desert dust deposition to the CODOS program’s identical set of measurements made in the San Juan Mountains. This automated monitoring, combined with occasional snowpack profiles at the site, will enhance CODOS’s ability to advise western Colorado water managers about potential dust-in-snow effects on snowmelt timing and rates.
The public can check near-real-time GMSP weather conditions (wind speed and direction, air temperature, relative humidity, and snowpack depth) at the Colorado Avalanche Information Center’s listings of Weather Observations, at http://avalanche.state.co.us/pub/links_wxobs.php - scroll down to the list of Grand Mesa weather sites and click on the GMSP (Grand Mesa Study Plot) link.
Chris Landry – Exec. Dir.
Center for Snow and Avalanche Studies
PO Box 190
Silverton, CO 81433 USA