Dust in the Wind and on the Snow

San Juan Mountains snowpack

Dust Blows! Then dust lands on snow and the snow melts off faster. Why is this a problem? Faster snowmelt leads to early spring runoff and reduced river waterflow. Dust on mountain snowpacks amplifies the problem of warmer and drier weather in the Southwestern US brought on by climate change. What can be done about it? The Center for Snow & Avalanche Studies (CSAS) needs funding to research this dusty problem.

CSAS and its Senator Beck Basin long-term monitoring study site are in a fight to survive. In order to continue operations past this season, and into the Fiscal Year 2012/2013, they need to raise $135,000 by June 30, 2012. The CSAS has already received pledges, but the CSAS needs more people to step forward!

Dust on snowpacks can also ruin spring backcountry skiing, which may seem a small thing. But, perhaps backcountry skiers and snowboarders, rafters and kayakers also understand the need to fund studies of mountain snowpack. The backcountry skiing and rafting season you save may be your own!

More Info:

Wikipedia - Snowmelt

Center for Snow & Avalanche Studies

USGS - Dust Hastens Colorado River Snowmelt, Cuts Flow

NASA - Dust Accelerates Snow Melt in San Juan Mountains - images

Summit County Voice - Colorado: Dust-on-snow research faces funding crunch