In the western U.S., 85% of freshwater runoff originates as snowmelt. In the north-central and northeast U.S., most significant floods of the 20th century were directly related to snowmelt. Thus, accurate, timely estimates of the snowpack are required to help monitor and manage seasonal snow and melt.
While CSO collects valuable measurements from volunteers in the backcountry, NOAA is in vital need of accurate snow measurements from your house. Snowfall is just as variable where you live as it is in the high country, and you can collect measurements right from your own back yard and help make a difference.
Despite the unpleasant end to the winter season in the Northern Hemisphere due to COVID-19 pandemic, and that left many of us asking “To go or not to go into the backcountry?”, there were many wonderful things that happened to the Community Snow Observations project during the winter of 2019/2020.
Measuring snow depth with a probe may not feel like rocket science, but it helps out NASA, so it actually is.
At CSO, we get to develop partnerships with all kinds of interesting and inspiring organizations working to improve snow science and our understanding of mountain environments. The Mountain Studies Institute, in Silverton, CO, does an amazing job of advancing this understanding in western Colorado.