Friday, June 7, 2013

Final pre-fieldwork accumulation update

During the month of May, snow depth at Quelccaya summit has increased in about half of all years since 2004. By the beginning of June the dry season has typically begun, and until early August, snowfall is only associated with occasional, relatively-brief winter precipitation events.

For the accumulation season 2012-13, snowdepth on 1 June amounted to 1.70 meters, increased slightly by a mid-May snowfall event. This accumulation season is thus second only to 2009-10 (1.64 m) in terms of low snowfall, and considerably below the median 1 June depth of 2.06 m. In contrast, La Niña year 2007-08 saw the greatest snowdepth on 1 June, at 2.40 m.

This update will be the last on accumulation until after our fieldwork, when among other activities we will measure density and determine the water equivalent accumulation for 2012-13. This will provide a more accurate measure of precipitation, and put the accumulation season into a proper longer-term context. Hopefully, we will encounter easy digging!

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