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Title: Surface climate and snow-weather relationships of the Kuparuk Basin on Alaska's Arctic Slope
Authors: Olsson, Peter Q.
Hinzman, Larry D.
Sturm, Matthew.
Liston, Glen E.
Kane, Douglas L.
Keywords: Climate--North Slope (Alaska)
Snow--North Slope (Alaska)
Weather--Kuparuk River Watershed (Alaska)
Kuparuk River Watershed (Alaska)
Publisher: Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (U.S.)
Engineer Research and Development Center (U.S.)
Series/Report no.: ERDC/CRREL ; TR-02-10.
Abstract: This report summarizes temperature, wind, and snow-cover data for the Kuparuk River Basin in Arctic Alaska spanning the five-year period of 1994–1998. Comparison of results from five meteorological towers is presented to illustrate both the differences and similarities of the regional climate and weather along a 200-km transect. A picture emerges of the Arctic Slope as a region dominated by subfreezing temperatures for most of the annual cycle. The five sites showed a good deal of similarity in both seasonal variation and meteorological forcing on a time scale of a few days. While the Kuparuk Basin is typified by almost constant moderate winds, winds greater than 10 m s⁻¹ are fairly rare. The observed patterns of temperature and wind have important ramifications for the winter snow cover of the Kuparuk Basin, explaining why the snow cover forms first in the foothills and last near the coast. The surprisingly low wind speeds across the network in October and November help to explain the presence of thick but low-density layers observed in the basal snowpack. A pronounced warming event occurring each November capped this early snow with a melt crust or wind slab or both, protecting it from subsequent wind erosion.
Appears in Collections:Technical Report

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