Variations in snow depth in the Colorado Rocky Mountain
Jacobs, Jennifer Ellen
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This study examines snow depth trends by elevation in the Southern Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Using cooperative data, trends for accumulated seasonal snow depth, snowfall, snow days, and melting degree days were computed. The relationship of snow depth and meteorological variables versus elevation is assessed. When only the negative trends were plotted by elevation, both snow depth and snowfall have statistically significant relationships (p”5%). However, there is a distinct geographic pattern with negative trends in snow depth to the west of the Continental Divide and positive trends to the east. Regression analysis identifies snowfall as the primary influence on the snow depth trends. The spatial variability of trends in snowfall and snow depth may be explained by Pacific climate variability since correlations with the NPI and the PDO show strong spatial coherence. Melting degree day trends show broad warming across the region, consistent with anthropogenic greenhouse warming.