We’ve had rain, then more rain and now we’re getting snow.
It’s lying on the paddocks but not very deep and roads around our farm are still open.
Snowfall is not routinely measured in New Zealand, but is an important part both of our natural hazards and our water resources.
Snow which falls at high elevations will generally melt slowly in spring; it will be absorbed by soil (for use by vegetation) or become runoff, which adds to stream flow. Snow which falls at low elevations will generally melt quickly after the snowfall, and be absorbed by soil and added to groundwater.
Measurements of snowfall at low elevations around New Zealand are few and far between, and yet the data would be really helpful in understanding how snowfall occurs, and quantifying snow-related risks to infrastructure (e.g. buildings, power lines, etc.) and impact on water resources. After all, the large majority of New Zealand’s population and infrastructure reside closer to the coast than the mountains.
And so we’d like your help to measure snowfall. You can measure the snow depth after it snows and, if you’re extra keen, measure the snow water equivalent (snow density) too.
Your measurements will help us to characterise the complex patterns of snow depth and water content which are important for monitoring New Zealand’s water resources and snow-related risks. . .
Instructions for measurement are at the second link.
Quote Unquote has a photo of 70cm of snow at Lake Heron Station.
And the ODT has a slide show of wintry weather in the south.