Temperature data and quality of ski seasons
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wgo
December 29, 2006
Member since 02/10/2004 🔗
1,359 posts
Thought I would break this out into a seperate topic so that those so inclined can cheerfully skip it..I found a neat site that has daily temperature data for 157 US and 167 International cities. Data seems to exist for 1995 thru 2006 in the form of text files. As an exercise, I took the data file for Elkins and wrote a program to calculate average Winter temps. I did this by summing up, for a given year, the daily average temperature for every day for December thru March, and then dividing by the number of days considered. Here is what I get for Elkins:

1995/96: 32.1
1996/97: 36.4
1997/98: 36.4
1998/99: 28.9
1999/00: 34.9
2000/01: 30.0
2001/02: 36.6
2002/03: 29.7
2003/04: 32.3
2004/05: 35.8
2005/06: 34.9

I know that daily average temp is not the best metric for assessing the quality of a ski season, but I would be interested in hearing how these figures correspond to people's recollections about particular ski seasons.

oh, BTW the site is:

http://www.engr.udayton.edu/weather/
wgo
December 29, 2006
Member since 02/10/2004 🔗
1,359 posts
Clearly I have too much time on my hands - I did a quick mod to my program to generate the number of days per winter where the daily ave temp was below freezing - I guess this would give a rough idea of how much snowmaking opportunity there was in a given year:

1995/96 61 days
1996/97 38 days
1997/98 41 days
1998/99 54 days
1999/00 50 days
2000/01 68 days
2001/02 43 days
2002/03 61 days
2003/04 65 days
2004/05 44 days
2005/06 46 days
Murphy
December 29, 2006
Member since 09/13/2004 🔗
618 posts
Here's another site to keep you busy when you get board: http://www.dnr.sc.gov/climate/sercc/climateinfo/historical/historical_wv.html

They've got snowfall info to go with the temps. However, the data for the smaller stations aren't always of the highest qualities and there are often days where there was no report.
JR
December 29, 2006
Member since 01/1/2003 🔗
276 posts
yep, i remember 01-02 being particularly terrible ski wise with your 36° average. terrible overall but i did stay at spruce lodge for $50 split 4 ways and ski for free 2 days in April with Cupp open. Even the terrible seasons sometimes turn out not so bad after all.
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jimmy
December 29, 2006
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
2,650 posts
Here are snowfall totals for canaan valley by month. Check out 01-02; i'd prefer 98-99, check that march out .
ubu
December 29, 2006
Member since 05/11/2005 🔗
40 posts
Quote:

Here are snowfall totals for canaan valley by month. Check out 01-02; i'd prefer 98-99, check that march out .




Sweet, data! Let's see what a plot looks like:

Hmmm, that's a nice linear trend if you ask me...if those snowfall numbers are for real it looks like we have some nice winters ahead at least for Canaan!
GaryEsq
December 29, 2006
Member since 12/20/2005 🔗
54 posts
I personally think that looking exclusively at snowfall doesn't tell the whole picture...if it snows 150 inches but melts a few days after every snowfall (in el nino type seasons), then resorts are not doing as well as 100 inch years where there is a constant snowpack. I think looking at days with snowcover might be a better indicator of trends affecting resorts.
tempfishnski
December 30, 2006
Member since 09/16/2006 🔗
66 posts
I don't have my data with me down here in "Global sunning low 80's vacation is good Florida" but I posted a few months ago that all Canaan had to do was get an ave 150"'s this year to reach a 5 year ave of 180"'s. That would give them over 200"'s a year at the mtn tops.Sure the Snow might be melting faster....but who doesn't like snowstorms? + the warmer temps sure beat the NE fridged temps they have to endure. speaking of NE it looks like they are beating this warm spell with some pretty cold temps.Stowe has had almost a foot of snow with temps down to the single digets this week.....keep hope alive, when it is warm here it doesn't mean the whole Earth is having a meltdown..Snow Down under during their summer..Snow in the middle East...we know about our west & Denver...+ that Ice chunk you all were talking about actually broke off last year & has re fused itself to the main ice shelf since...Mid Jan for the Mid Atlantic....stay tuned!
JimK - DCSki Columnist
December 30, 2006
Member since 01/14/2004 🔗
2,720 posts
WGO's data would appear to corroborate the following impression I had about the 2002-2003 season:
3/11/03 - What a ski season it's been; started early, stayed good, and is finishing strong. I got a good regional sampling this year including trips to Wisp, MD early, then Blue Knob, Seven Springs and Whitetail, PA in mid-season, and now Massanutten late. Everywhere has been great due to better than average natural snow amounts and exceptionally consistent cool temperatures for snowmaking and grooming. It's not too late to enjoy more of this "season to savor" in the mid-Atlantic, although time is running out at Massanutten. A ski patroller told me that March 16 will be their last day. The closing won't be due to lack of snow.

WGO's data doesn't go back this far, but Skilifts.org showed that 1989 was the year Massanutten built their quad chair serving the Diamond Jim slope. That was a really bad season and some places closed in January and never reopened.

Ashamed to admit on DCSki that I played golf yesterday for only the second time all year!
jimmy
December 30, 2006
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
2,650 posts
ok, lets take wgo's chart and add snowfall totals;


1995/96 61 days 259.2 inches
1996/97 38 days 106.0
1997/98 41 days 142.5
1998/99 54 days 150.5
1999/00 50 days 133.5
2000/01 68 days 175.8
2001/02 43 days 085.0
2002/03 61 days 233.1
2003/04 65 days 188.4
2004/05 44 days 159.0
2005/06 46 days 169.7

Which of these years were el Nino?

JimK, Don't feel ashamed, here's how i look at it as long as i get to ski more days than i played golf in a year, it's been a good one . Been looking at noaa's 7 day for Davis, and ....well, all i can say is keep u head down .
bawalker
December 30, 2006
Member since 12/1/2003 🔗
1,547 posts
As much as I've sat back and read the back and forth debates on GW (not Bush I hope) throughout the last few years on here, I simply just can't blindly accept the reasoning behind the GW promoters. None of us can deny that there *IS* a warming period happening but it's the reasoning for that that bothers me. In fact I won't go as far to say 'global' warming because that in and of itself is misleading. Many places on earth are in fact the same if not colder when it comes to yearly average temperatures. However I'm not walking into the stats debate right at the moment. But for the sake of argument I'll refer to GW in here.

Those who are pushing GW suggest that all was well with mother earth until the last 50 years when we had cars and industrial factories pop up en mass and are now the source of all environmental problems including our what is this large scale warming problem. There is the obvious solution to point to the carbon based emitting fuels that they cause harm. I know for a fact any human who sticks their mouth to a cars tailpipe won't be around much longer, although it's vague when it comes to the data of carbon disbursing in the atmosphere. In theory it's bad, but there is too much conflicting data to actually show that there is a blanket of carbon over the atmosphere causing a greenhouse affect. In fact I've seen data that indicates that the Ozone Hole is a naturally occurring phenomenon that closes and grows with time. Could this be related to the fluctuation's with rising and decreasing temperatures on the earth as a whole?

With the blatant finger pointing by many who say GW is the cause and we are headed for catastrophic meltdown/destruction due to our own human lifestyles and living (cars, factories, etc), it's too easy of a cop out. Since solid and accurate record keeping with weather has only been happening in the last 100 years or so, it suggests that we haven't completed the scientific process of observation to dictate whether any warming is permanent or if it's an earthly cycle.

Everything from the mini-ice ages to the big ice age are large events that seem to suggest that the earth does go through events that the earth goes through massive cool down periods. As anyone in physics knows that for every action there is an opposite and equal reaction. Thus, if there was an ice age and mini ice ages with glaciers once extending down to Michigan and the Ohio areas, science tells us that they'd recede just as much as they once progressed. This could mean continue seeing chunks of ice break off, water levels rise and seeing warmer tropical like conditions further north. Just the same way that if an ice age hit tomorrow, we'd see 200" dumps in Alabama (do I hear new ski resorts?).

Now there is evidence out that suggests that the earth itself may go through a slight rotational/orbit change around the sun that could do everything from cause more radiation from the sun to weaken/widen/or close the ozone hole, to causing the buildup of heat or lack there of on earth. Honestly I just don't really know. However what I do know is that finger pointing to GW en mass like a lot of people are doing isn't following the scientific process that scientists themselves are supposed to follow. We are to ask questions, observe, test the hypothesis, and develop a conclusion. Considering that the cycling changes of weather on earth happen in hundreds or thousands of years, and our record keeping is about 100 years, we simply won't know the real truth for another hundred or so years at the minimum.

As for being more specific on this forum, MM, I dislike your constant blind ranting about GW using bits and pieces of evidence to draw a whole conclusion about the topic. Yes I agree with you that skiing conditions worsen as warming happens. I agree with you that warming is happening and it's disheartening to me to see myself in shorts in January. I'll even agree with you that many scientists are agreeing on GW (however I've hread LOTS of reports that many do so out of peer pressure or in order to get recognition for other work).

However, your blind ranting and raving over GW in a way that is making it sound like you have the final cause and solution to GW is childish and nonsense. I know folks here don't mind discussing it, but the manner you are conducting yourself is very childish and less and less are taking you seriously. Unless you are 2000 years old and can give us detailed reports of daily, weekly, and monthly reports from the last 1500 years, don't even act like you have the answer. None of us does until we can fully see what the warming problem REALLY is and caused by.

Speaking of ice cubes... I wonder if I can put enough of them on my feet and ski down the stairs....
KevR
December 30, 2006
Member since 01/27/2004 🔗
786 posts
The theory of global warming is based on an analysis of the carbon cycle and the computer modeling thereof -- some real data, some 'calculated' data.

The real problem is not whether its true -- the real problem is an inability to "retrieve" the released carbon if it PROVES to be true.

Since we have no known way to do that, the only rational option (or so the argument goes) -- is to PREVENT the carbon from being released in the first place.

That of course leads right into reducing or eliminating the big carbon emitters, which are the oil and coal based energy production industries.

Funnily, the entire 'politicization' of the theory of GW seems to have rather expertly come from the folks most immediately likely to be on short end of the stick of carbon reduction policies: the very same coal and oil industries.

In fact, I'd say they've done an amazing job coloring the issues and disparaging good 'ole hard science at the potential expense of us all.

Then again short term greed seems to have trumped longer term goals throughout human history, so perhaps that's not all that surprising.
JR
December 30, 2006
Member since 01/1/2003 🔗
276 posts
hard science used to say that the world was flat and anyone who thought otherwise was a moron...
ubu
December 31, 2006
Member since 05/11/2005 🔗
40 posts
Quote:

hard science used to say that the world was flat and anyone who thought otherwise was a moron...




I'm really trying to stay away from this whole debate, but there is an amazing degree of ignorance in the public about (a) what science is all about, and more specifically (b) what science has to tell us about GW. To suggest that because science doesn't always have the complete answer, or sometimes has the wrong answer (flat earth, although that one's a bit of a straw man), that we should ignore scientific consensus on GW is just silly and suggests a lack of understanding of the scientific method. Debating GW on the net is like debating evolution, and the arguments used on both sides are quite similar. Take that as you will...

So...anyway....I'm keeping the skiis and packed gear bag by the front door just in case there is a sudden change in weather. Fingers are crossed!
JR
December 31, 2006
Member since 01/1/2003 🔗
276 posts
I'm not saying we ignore science at all. Science has in fact done more for us as a society than most of us can even imagine. I'm just saying that way too many things are considered to be scientific facts and taught in schools as such when they're mere theories. Many scientists claim to be all "scientific and stuff" and since us little people don't have "scientific research" to prove otherwise we're obviously wrong. I bet we'd all be surprised just how many scientific facts have actually changed just in the past 20 years based on what was taught in schools compared to what is commonly accepted now and/or taught in those same schools.

Heck, 99.9% or more of scientific facts are rock solid. That's where we get in to problems with everyone taking all so called science as rock solid fact based on their track record. Its an easy cop-out to just accept what scientists are saying as fact instead of using our own common judgement and opinions. If nobody ever dissagreed or deviated from the masses' opinions we'd go nowhere as a society.

GW or not we're going to luck out with at least one storm this year and I have vacation carrying over for that very moment.
ubu
December 31, 2006
Member since 05/11/2005 🔗
40 posts
Quote:

I'm just saying that way too many things are considered to be scientific facts and taught in schools as such when they're mere theories.




But there is no such thing as scientific fact, just scientific theories which have differing degrees of experimental or observational validation. By saying these are "mere" theories belittles the core of the scientific enterprise, which is _precisely_ to offer theories which may be tested against empirical evidence. I think I will now shoot my high horse to prevent more of this drivel from popping out of my mouth.

Quote:


GW or not we're going to luck out with at least one storm this year and I have vacation carrying over for that very moment.




Amen to that bro!
Laurel Hill Crazie - DCSki Supporter
December 31, 2006
Member since 08/16/2004 🔗
1,855 posts
Quote:

The theory of global warming is based on an analysis of the carbon cycle and the computer modeling thereof -- some real data, some 'calculated' data.

The real problem is not whether its true -- the real problem is an inability to "retrieve" the released carbon if it PROVES to be true.

Since we have no known way to do that, the only rational option (or so the argument goes) -- is to PREVENT the carbon from being released in the first place.

That of course leads right into reducing or eliminating the big carbon emitters, which are the oil and coal based energy production industries.

Funnily, the entire 'politicization' of the theory of GW seems to have rather expertly come from the folks most immediately likely to be on short end of the stick of carbon reduction policies: the very same coal and oil industries.

In fact, I'd say they've done an amazing job coloring the issues and disparaging good 'ole hard science at the potential expense of us all.

Then again short term greed seems to have trumped longer term goals throughout human history, so perhaps that's not all that surprising.




This is sums up my position on GW.(Bold case added.) More and more scientists conclude on a number of different models that GW is a plausible theory. The only way we will know that as fact is when the next mass extinction begins or the climate becomes inhospitable to human life. Even then other 'natural' factors my be in play that we could never control but so long as there is a chance that we can prevent GW why not try? It will certainly lead away from dependence on mid-eastern oil and a preservation of wilderness and offshore ecosystems. Surely these are desirable.

Make no mistake, GW is foremost a political argument, this cannot be disputed regardless of scientific 'fact' or theory. The real question and perhaps the only important question is how will you spend your vote?
Roger Z
January 1, 2007
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
http://opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110009464

Incidentally all political questions are questions of the allocation of scarce resources. You devote dollars and time to one issue, you take it away from another issue. When they're doing their job correctly (which occurs about once every millenium), this is what politicians are dealing with. The advantage of looking at GW through a market-lens is that you can marshall more resources to deal with a problem that provides incentives for doing so: profits. Industries that would respond well to emerging technology are industries where carbon-based products (in this case, fuel or coal) are a cost component. Another industry is risk capital, though as the article above makes clear they've been burned before and are likely to be hesitant to reinvest at this stage. One good use of government resources in that circumstance would be insurance of risk capital in some fashion or another when it's used to develop new, carbon-reduction technologies. It'd be cheaper than outright regulation and play to America's strength, which is technological growth.

Since the article mentions carbon sequestering with regard to oil shale, I thought it'd also be important to mention that natural gas extraction is now using carbon dioxide to increase field productivity. They pump carbon dioxide into the hole and it allows for an additional 10-15% recovery of reserves. So there are cases where traditionally "dirty" industries are using carbon sinks to expand profitability too.
fishnski
January 1, 2007
Member since 03/27/2005 🔗
3,530 posts
The Earth has been "Retrieving" Co2 forever...It also pumps out a hell of alot on its own! Gas vents all over the deep ocean, Volcanoes ect... I would be willing to venture that mans input is not as much as a factor as some would lead you to believe...Anybody hear the saying "it takes snow to make snow"? We have lost a little of our ice chunk in the artic which alows the darker water to absorb more of the suns radiation. this could snowball us into a warm age...unless we are willing to build more ski areas! Yes, With the increased land mass snow covered we could reflect more of the suns rays back to space! In fact if everybody covered their yard with a white tarp it could all bring about a reversal of this dreaded GW.....Hold on folks...I'll be back..I got to smoke another one!
Mountain Masher
January 1, 2007
Member since 03/13/2004 🔗
541 posts
One thing that I get a real kick out of (regarding the GW debate) is that the debate is OVER in most parts of the world EXCEPT the US. Don't believe me? Just go over to Europe and see where the Europeans are on the issue. Of course, the US is the World's largest consumer of natural resources (especially fossil fuels) despite the fact that it comprises less than 5 percent of the World's population. So, it comes as no real surprise that there are still a lot of "doubters" in the US, which is slowing (but surely) becoming yet ANOTHER International PR nightmare for America. Long live BIG SUVs and "McMansions"!
Mountain Masher
January 1, 2007
Member since 03/13/2004 🔗
541 posts
bawalker, it's a funny thing that you keep accusing me of being some sort of "blind ranter", when I continue to be featured on TV, including WRC-TV, NBC-4 (the NBC station in the DC area). I'm NO "blind ranter" (although I do have a sense of humor) but it's clear (to me anyway) from your ridiculous post that you ARE a "blind ranter". Try to get a grip, IF you can.....there's really no need to initiate name calling on this forum.
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