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Peter Youngblood Thesis Defense

June 22 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm MDT

Peter Youngblood
Title: Applications of Continuous Snowpack Temperature Monitoring

Predicting metamorphism within seasonal snowpacks is critical for avalanche forecasting and runoff timing as it relates to water supply management. Snowpack temperature gradients play a key role in snow metamorphism because they drive sublimation and vapor migration, and can be used to predict a ripe snowpack. Before major melt, the snowpack must be warmed to isothermal conditions at 0°C. Measuring this transition from warming to the ripening phase could help improve our current models for runoff timing. Measuring snowpack temperature gradients is currently a non-automated process that requires disturbance of the snow profile, and only gives a snapshot in time of the temperature conditions. Here we demonstrate an automated method to monitor in situ snowpack temperature using a thermocouple array, co-located with the Banner Summit SNOTEL site in central Idaho. Showing the location and duration of critical temperature gradients should help avalanche forecasters detect warning signs related to possible facet formation. In addition, this sensor successfully measures isothermal conditions which signal the beginning of major snowmelt. We anticipate this dataset will inform snowpack energy balance models and aid in the prediction of avalanche hazards and runoff timing.

Advisor: HP Marshall

Co-Advisor, Committee Members: Jim McNamara, Matt Kohn


Where: Zoom Meeting ID: 914 8615 4915              Password: Defense

When: Monday, June 22nd

Time: 3:00pm