Monday, March 12, 2012

Section II and Glacier Update

I have updated the Web pages in section 2 of the Mt. Rainier NP photo guide, this time updating the Web pages for viewing glaciers with the map of glacier view locations. The other updates have already mentioned on this blog about the weather and snow data, sites and information.

I will be following up the snow Web pages with updated or additonal pages on the snow data, specifically the snowpack and the snowmelt season. The former is the different ways scientists view snowpack as a water resources and a avalanche risk. The latter is the season which most effects hikers in the NP, the snow on the trails.

Last year the snowmelt was the longest of recorded history, lasting from about May 23rd to August 29th, when the sensor recorded no snow at the Paradise snow site. So far this year the snow is slightly above normal from recent snowfall when has been below most of the season. We won't know when the snowmelt starts until mid-late May when the sensor shows the decline in the snowpack.

This is important since it meant snow was present last year on the upper elevation trails, those above 5,000-5,500 feet depending on the exposure (compass direction of slope) of the trail and hikers were encountering snow almost everywhere they hiked through the summer until the Labor Day holiday weekend and even then still above 6,000 feet into the fall.

This is also important since it meant the wildflower season was delayed from the normal mid-late July to early-mid August in every mid-upper elevation meadow, a rarity for the NP. The wildflowers bloom within a few weeks of snow clearing the meadows and the summer warm and sun provides the opportunity for the flowers, something I'll be watching this season.

That's it for now. More stuff a comin' when I get it done and on-line. Spring is approaching soon in April, well in the lower elevations. The photo is of the Nisqually Glacier, no known date but likely early to mid-1890's.

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