Silverton: Workshop on the effects of dust on snow and ice recap

A picture named albedoeffect

From The Durango Herald (Dale Rodebaugh):

Eighteen scientists and graduate students, including representatives from Japan and China, met in Silverton to share their research on the effects of airborne dust and soot on mountain and polar snow and ice. The group, led by Thomas Painter of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Chris Landry from the Center for Snow & Avalanche Studies, known as CSAS and headquartered in Silverton, traveled Wednesday to the top of Red Mountain Pass to a snow-science research site. It was the last day of a three-day workshop in which participants presented research on snow degradation from the Himalayan region, the Tibetan Plateau, Greenland and the United States, including the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada…

Recent research has tied soot from industrial emissions to temperature increases in the Arctic and land-use changes in desert regions to dust that causes early and intense snowmelt in mid-latitude mountains such as the San Juan Mountains in Southwest Colorado, Landry said. Look no further than the San Juans, where dust blowing in from the south and west has turned snow tan. Landry has documented “dust events” annually since 2002-03. The phenomenon is increasingly serious, but it’s way too early to show a trend, Landry said…

Landry said the Center for Snow & Avalanche Studies is supported financially by a variety of sources, including the Animas La Plata Water Conservancy District, the Bureau of Reclamation and the Colorado Water Conservation Board. Water-management agencies are becoming increasingly interested in the impact of dust and soot on snow because it directly affects their work, Landry said. A dust storm that blanketed western Colorado on Feb. 15, 2006, made believers of many, Landry said. The dust cover led to an early and intense runoff of what little snow there was that year, he said. “A single event affected the whole state,” Landry said.

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