• Snow Survey Results for the Central Alaskan Arctic, Arctic Circle to Arctic Ocean: Spring 2013

      Stuefer, Sveta; Homan, Joel; Gieck, Robert; Youcha, Emily (2014-02)
      Many remote areas of Alaska lack meteorological data; this is especially true for solid precipitation. Researchers at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Water and Environmental Research Center have been collecting end-of-winter snow cover observations (depth, density, snow water equivalent and ablation) since the year 2000. These observations do not document the total snowfall during the winter, but provide quantitative estimate of cold season precipitation on the ground at winter’s end after sublimation and redistribution by wind. This report provides summary of snow cover data collected during cold season of 2012–2013. There are two main areas of study. One includes drainage areas of the western Sagavanirktok, Kuparuk, Itkillik, Anaktuvuk and Chandler Rivers located north of the continental divide in the Brooks Range. While the number of sites has varied each year, we visited 76 sites in April of 2013 on the North Slope of Alaska. Second study area was established in 2012 in the drainage areas of the Kogoluktuk, Mauneluk, Reed, Alatna, and Koyukuk Rivers south of the Brooks Range. Fifty seven new snow survey sites were visited south of the Brooks Range in April 2013. The cold season of 2012-2013 experienced heavy snowfalls (record amounts since 2000) north of the Brooks Range. This was the first year of data collection south of the Brooks Range, thus no comparison can be made. SWE averaged over entire study area was 13.1 cm in 2013, ranging from 1.2 cm to 35.2 cm. Generally, higher SWEs were found in the western portion of the study area. Ablation was later than normal in spring 2013. Ablation window extended from May 8, 2013 in the far south of the study area to middle June at higher elevations on the north side of the Brooks Range.