Changing Snow


What Does It Mean When We Say That We're Studying Snow Melt in Australia?

Snow melt means something different to just about anyone that hears it. For snowboarders and skiers, it's the opposite of what we want to see because it means that our fun is coming to an end. To summer lovers ready for barbecuing, it exciting to think that the snow is melting and warmer temperatures are on their way. I see it as a way to better understand the water contained in our beautiful mountains and how we can best manage it!

No matter your view on snow, you're bound to enjoy my segment on Scope TV!

First Season of Data Collection is in the Books!

An overall success - that's how I'm describing the first season of field work for TESEE. There were some hiccups along the way with two towers that still don't want to talk via data network and some power issues at one of the treed sites, but there is plenty of data for analysis and I couldn't ask for anything more! Now, the tricky part here will be determining if we want to expand on the project. Should we add more instrumentation, study different aspects of the forests' meteorology, or simply just add another year of data to boost the robustness of our dataset? For the time being, we don't know but we'll find out as we dig into that terrific data!

Discussing Snow Research with ABC Canberra's Anna Vidot

Earlier this week I had a the privilege of discussing my research and upcoming field project with ABC Canberra's Anna Vidot. While we didn't get too in-depth with the actual science and I would have liked to explain the meteorology a bit more, it does yield a good understanding of the project, why the results will be useful to Australia, and correct vs. incorrect methods of storm chasing. I took a bit of video that we recorded while in the Snowy Mountains for my instrumentation deployment and laid it over the video to give a bit of a visual understanding of the areas that we talked about.

TESEE Instrumentation Sites Have Been Deployed!

Data is now being collected in three sites around the Snowy Mountains and is being monitored online in real-time. The data has information on atmospheric variables like temperature and relative humidity, but also on the ground water content and snowpack temperatures.

The sites were put in place on from the 30th of April to the 4th of May and will be running for the next two and a half years. There were plenty of obstacles to overcome including hiking 225 kg of gear through thick bush on the first day, having our helicopter grounded on the second, which meant hiking another 225 kg of gear up a fairly intense mountain, and then absolute weather chaos on the final day with hail, thunder, and even some snow! Regardless, the sites are now up and I will be monitoring them for differences to determine how living and dead forests affect snow accumulation, ablation, and atmosphere-snowpack energy exchange.

Is snow deeper in living trees, dead trees, or open areas? How does the canopy affect snow melt? What are the thermodynamics of the snowpack during rain on snow events?! ANSWERS TO THESE AND MORE... in like two years when I finish my thesis.

GOES-S and Kennedy Space Center, See you on the 28th of February!

NASA has invited me to attend the GOES-S weather satellite launch and special events at the Kennedy Space Center on the 28th of February and 1st of March as part of their #NASASocial series! The GOES-S satellite is part of the GOES-R series of satellites that has the ability to detect new spectral channels that allow for the detection of phenomena that were difficult or impossible using the older series of satellites including snow, smoke, and ash. There is also a new lightning mapper that does an amazing job of detecting lightning strikes at all depths of the atmosphere. The first satellite in the series was GOES-R (now GOES-16 in orbit) that began sending information back in late 2016 with the first images being published in early 2017.

See you on the 28th, Kennedy Space Center!

GOES-16 image of an east coast storm on Jan 4, 2018 more info can be found here

2018 ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes

Good news continues to roll in this week! I just found out that I've been approved and fully funded to attend the 2018 ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes winter school in Canberra in June! It's very exciting to be able to attend these classes as climate extremes and the changes to weather patterns over the Snowy Mountains will be a crucial focus of my TESEE PhD thesis.

"The ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes will launch the world’s first fully integrated centre focused explicitly on the understanding and prediction of climate extremes in July 2017. It marks a shift from investigating climate averages to a specific focus on understanding and improving the predictability of high impact extreme events."​