Snowpack characteristics of an alpine site in the Sierra Nevada

TitleSnowpack characteristics of an alpine site in the Sierra Nevada
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Conference1997
AuthorsKattelmann, R. C.
Conference Name65th Annual Western Snow Conference
Series TitleProceedings of the 65th Annual Western Snow Conference
Date PublishedMay 1997
PublisherWestern Snow Conference
Conference LocationBanff, Alberta
KeywordsMammoth Mountain, Redistribution, Snowmelt

A snow research site has been operated on Mammoth Mountain in the eastern Sierra Nevada of California since 1978. Records from this timberline study plot illustrate some of the characteristics of snowpack development and ablation in the high Sierra Nevada. In most years, a snowpack of at least 50 cm depth has been in place by the first of December. Mid-winter storms have deposited a few centimeters to a few meters of snowfall. Wind redistributes snow around the site and is a critical influence throughout the accumulation season. Snow depth usually reaches a maximum sometime in April. Over the period of record, peak depths have ranged from 2 to 8 m with water equivalence of 0.7 to 2.5 m Sustained spring snowrnelt usually begins in late April or early May after storms have become infrequent. Daily melt amounts in May tend to average about 20 mm per day Snow cover usually disappears during June but has persisted until August.