ESC Final Program & Live Streaming

The ESC final program Final Program is now available! Additionally, there will be an Eastern Snow Conference Live Stream via Zoom (link) available for the oral sessions, from 8am-12pm EDT Wednesday June 15, and from 830am-12pm EDT Thursday June 16. Zoom provides a mechanism for questions to be asked from the audience looped in by live stream.

Eastern Snow Conference at the Byrd Polar & Climate Research Center

Highbanks Metro Park in Columbus Ohio cross-country ski trail February 2015. Photo by M. Durand.

Ohio Snow. Highbanks Metro Park, Columbus, Ohio, near the cross-country ski trail February 2015. Photo by M. Durand.

The 73rd Eastern Snow Conference will be taking place right here in Columbus, Ohio, at the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center. The call for papers is now available (link). See the Eastern Snow website for more details. Hope to see you there!

New Resource for Teaching Hydrology in High School & Middle School

As part of a project funded via the NSF Geoscience and Education, we worked with Jason Cervenec (BPCRC outreach coordinator) and Steven Gordon (Ohio Supercomputer Center), and with Howard Greene (College of Engineering Diversity & Outreach), to help develop a simple curriculum for doing hydrology in high school and middle school. It has some nice hands-on components (e.g. measuring infiltration in a soup can you leave under a sprinkler), tools and ideas for exploring small watersheds, and a simple web-based hydrologic model. The hydrologic model (based on NRCS curve number for runoff, channel slope for time of concentration, and NRCS unit hydrograph for routing) is really just a few lines of code, but allows high school and middle school students to get a feel for how changing land cover might affect streamflow.

The module consists of five units, and are all available for download here. The web-based model is hosted here: both are at BPCRC.

The module was field tested twice in summer 2013 and summer 2014, with significant changes to the hydrologic model made in between the two, in order to better adapt it for classroom settings. Here are a couple of action shots from the workshop:

Teachers measure how much water has infiltrated through various types of soil in soup cans.

Teachers measure how much water has infiltrated through various types of soil in soup cans.

Teachers at workshop measure simulate precipitation over a "terrarium watershed", and measure watershed outflow or runoff.

Teachers at workshop measure simulate precipitation over a “terrarium watershed”, and measure watershed outflow or runoff.

Layer cake snow stratigraphy

A bunch of us (me, Ben, Jinmei, Melissa, and Rhae Sung) just got back from participating in a field course led by Noah Molotch (UC Boulder). We were hosted by Storm Peak Lab (SPL); SPL is directed by Gannet Hallar & Ian McCubbin. Great time.

It was the first time out for the new OSU snow radiometers, which went really well. This photo documents the snow stratigraphy from a windswept area near the top of the mountain, near SPL (elevation 3220 m, ~10,500 ft). The photograph was taken with a filter that only allows near infrared wavelengths, rather than visible; this highlights differences in snow texture, grain size, stratigraphy, and density. Ice crusts form the denser layers, which appear darker. The lower layers were loose depth hoar snow; the upper light-colored layer was fresh snow that had fallen the day prior to when the photograph was taken. The overall “layer cake” appearance in this photo shows snowfall events separated by ice crusts, formed during warm weather events. This is unusual for this time of year at this elevation and location, and highlights the warmer weather the area has experienced. Normally, the different snow layers would be distinguishable, but without the darker ice layers separating them out.


These layers affect how this area looks to satellite measurements — studies have shown that these kind of effects are important to resolve in interpreting imagery.

The layer from 80-92 cm consisted of many ~1 mm ice lenses formed by melt during the day, and was crazy hard to get a shovel through: you needed a pick axe, just about. From 16-37 cm was all sugar.

Photo by Alice Hill of CU, on our group’s Nikon D7000 with NIR filter by MaxMax.