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Old 11-20-2009, 07:42 AM
 
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A CO newbie question:

The 18 inches we got about 2 weeks ago was gone in 2 days. I could almost see it fade away as I looked at it.


The 6 inches we got earlier this week is still lingering.

Temps and sunshine seem about the same. Why such a difference in the melt rate?
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Old 11-20-2009, 07:47 AM
 
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Difference in ground temps?
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Old 11-20-2009, 07:59 AM
 
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It was in the 70's after the first one rather quickly, compared with the upper 50's.
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Old 11-20-2009, 09:37 AM
 
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
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Snow and ice are very good at retaining cold for long periods of time. If there are any accumulations of these on the north face of things not exposed to sunlight, then it keeps ground temperatures down.

Are you sure overnight temperatures have been the same? Here in Junction, our temperatures have been much colder.
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Old 11-20-2009, 09:54 AM
 
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The overnight temps have been lower, and the daily highs haven't been quite as high. That's all it takes I guess.

I also think the ground is so wet that a lot of water has no place to go, so it's staying on hard surfaces longer and refreezing at night - but that's just my observation/hypothesis based on walking two kids to school all this week. Treacherous!!!!
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Old 11-20-2009, 10:19 AM
 
Location: Centennial
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mczabe View Post
The overnight temps have been lower, and the daily highs haven't been quite as high. That's all it takes I guess.

I also think the ground is so wet that a lot of water has no place to go, so it's staying on hard surfaces longer and refreezing at night - but that's just my observation/hypothesis based on walking two kids to school all this week. Treacherous!!!!
I would have to agree with this, it has been A LOT colder at night and as it gets colder it starts to freeze the ground which in turn makes it harder for the snow to melt even if the day tepms are still pretty warm. We also can't forget that we live in CO and it loves to keep us guessing
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Old 11-20-2009, 10:23 AM
 
Location: DEN-CO
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Ground heat flux and radiation input all contribute to the rate of snow melt. Also, days get shorter toward the winter solstice and the sun puts out less radiation. Wikipedia has a good explanation of the process.
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Old 11-20-2009, 10:32 AM
 
Location: Arvada, CO
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Yeah, the days after the first storm, we were having 60's-70's during the day and 30's-40's at night.

Now, we're having 40's-50's during the day and low 20's at night. I have a "glacier" in my north-facing "front yard", that didn't even completely melt away from the first storm. The shaded area of the road was slushy on Monday, but froze on Monday night and hasn't thawed out yet, and is still a sheet of ice as we speak.

Welcome to Colorado.
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Old 11-21-2009, 12:39 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BarryK123 View Post
A CO newbie question:

The 18 inches we got about 2 weeks ago was gone in 2 days. I could almost see it fade away as I looked at it.


The 6 inches we got earlier this week is still lingering.

Temps and sunshine seem about the same. Why such a difference in the melt rate?
It has to do with the daytime highs and nighttime lows, both of which are much lower than after the 1st storm. It also has to do with the position of the sun and the decreasing daylight hours. As winter comes in, the snow melt will decrease. Wait until December and January, snow can stick around for a long time in Denver. Especially the north facing areas. Shoot, I have snow and ice for weeks on my north facing lawn after snow storms.

The Frost line depth for Denver is 3 feet. This is the depth to which frost penetrates the earth. Long cold spells with no snow cover can cause the ground to freeze to a greater depth. If there is persistent snow cover, the ground may freeze only a few inches deep. If there is little or no snow cover, the ground can freeze nearly three feet deep.

Last edited by MattRlz; 11-21-2009 at 12:51 AM..
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