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ColinG


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Re: Attention all Walkers! 2008 Snow Patch Season
Date Posted: 13.46hrs on Tue 23 Dec 08
In the October 2002 'Weather' there is an article looking at the number and distribution of snow patch survivals going back to 1970.
Chionophile


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Re: Attention all Walkers! 2008 Snow Patch Season
Date Posted: 15.43hrs on Wed 14 Jan 09
The 2008 snow-patch season in retrospect, and online availability of papers on snow-patches

Due largely to firefly’s initiative in starting this thread last spring, and of course the existence of the winterhighland website that made it possible, the photographs and other information posted by hill walkers in 2008 helped attain the best-ever coverage of summer and autumn snow-patches so far in Scotland. This went a long way to counteracting the effects of unusually poor viewing conditions due to continual fog and rain, one of the worst summers in my experience for viewing distant patches. It was a remarkable effort. Also, it is worth noting that all this information since 1989 has depended on observers without grants, paying for expenses from their own pockets, a good example of dedicated endeavour.

Our annual paper on Scottish snow-patch survivals in WEATHER magazine of the Royal Meteorological Society is available online if you are at an institution such as a university that has paid for full access. If not, it is available online when you pay an annual subscription as a member of the RMS, or pay for 24-hour access to a given paper. This is the case even if you are an author of a paper in WEATHER.

We have had an annual paper on Scottish snow patches since 1998, plus a note in 1997 and a review back to 1970 that was mentioned in the last post by ColinG in December. There is also an earlier note, a paper by John Pottie in 1995, and a long paper by me and others in the journal Arctic & Alpine Research, published in 1994. When the RMS published WEATHER, the first author got 10 free copies of that issue of the journal, and latterly was offered a pdf file of the paper as an alternative. The latter was excellent for sending to observers who contributed information. However, the journal for the last few years has been published by the publishers Wiley International, who are far less generous than RMS! All that the first author now gets is one free copy of the issue that carries the paper (not enough to cover all co-authors), and anything else has to be paid.

We retain a few pdfs from past papers, and a pdf of an article by me that is critical of some of the wild claims about supposed effects of global warming on Scottish land birds. In addition, we intend to get electronic copies of our other earlier papers on snow-patches, one way or another. That will include the current one for the 2008 snow-patch season, which is about to be submitted to WEATHER. Once we get these pdfs, be sure that all of the above will be available free to any observer who has contributed information to our surveys or does so in future.

Southernboarder


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Re: Attention all Walkers! 2008 Snow Patch Season
Date Posted: 17.14hrs on Wed 14 Jan 09
Congratulations to everyone involved with the Scottish snow patch research. Loads of cool information gathered! Great to see the images of snow over the summer.

Didn't know if I should start a new thread or not........but does anyone know of any cases of annual survival of snow patches in England? I know that the Lakes in particluar have a few areas that sometimes hold snow pockets into summer, but I don't think I've heard of stuff making it through the year. What about 1947 and that other severe winter in the 60's? Was it 63 or 67? Did anything survive then?
Chionophile


Guest
Re: Attention all Walkers! 2008 Snow Patch Season
Date Posted: 18.12hrs on Wed 14 Jan 09
Late-lying English and Welsh snow patches are an interesting topic, which has been far less studied than Scottish ones. The best easily available reference is the New Naturalist Collins book by Gordon Manley (1952),who himself was a keen snow-patch pioneer and visited Observatory Gully on Ben Nevis. Look at his chapter 11 on snowfall and snow cover, published more than half a century ago but still an excellent summary and very readable, for he was a good writer. A paper with some other information is by Johnson in 2005, reference below. Manley recounts old observations of snow surviving in the Cotswolds till July and August, and well into the summer in the Lake District,northern Pennines, Crossfell, and Carnedd Llewellyn in north Wales. He gives a date of snow surviving on Helvellyn till 10 July in 1951, which was the snowiest year in the Highlands in my experience since the late 1930s. He mentions that snow survived that year well into July in the Lake District and north Wales. However, he gave no evidence of snow lasting till September, and only the one reference to August.

A detailed ref on 1950-51 is EL Hawke & DL Champion (1952), Report on the snow survey of Great Britain for the season 1050-51. Journal of Glaciology, 2 No 11, 25-37. They reported that snow lay throughout May to below 2500 ft. on the Cheviot hills, and on Carnedd Llewellyn there was a drift of compacted snow half a mile long and about 15 ft deep on 31 May. "The higher slopes of Helvellyn provided good ski-ing on many days -- a rare happening there in May". Then, "Above 2500 ft. in the northern Pennines a number of snow-beds survived throughout June.One of these, on the north-west slope of Cross Fell, measured about 96 ft. ib length by 34 ft. in breadth and had a maximum depth of 6 ft. on June 30th. This bed was still in existence on July 9th".

A snow paper was published in WEATHER of 1961 (Late-lying snow in south-east Wales) by TM Thomas of the Ministry of Housing & Local Government in Cardiff. He gave a detailed account of many snow patches in April and May 1947 after a very snowy winter, on hills in southern Wales, below 2000 ft. Most patches were at far lower altitudes. The deepest, maximum 25 ft deep on 13 April, stretched for 400 yards long and 80 yards wide, at 1430-1520 ft, finally disappeared on 20 May.

A paper by PJ Vincent & MP Lee (1982), Snow patches on Farleton Fell, south-east Cumbria, The Geographical Journal 148, 337-342 looks promising at first sight, but gave no data on snow at any date, so it was largely a geomorphological descriptive waffle without quantitative data.

Johnson, P. 2005. Snow-cover on the Cumbrian mountains. Weather 60, 132–135.
Manley, G. 1952. Climate and the British Scene. Collins, London.

If any readers know of any other references to late snow in England and Wales, I would be very interested in finding out.


PeterS


Guest
Re: Attention all Walkers! 2008 Snow Patch Season
Date Posted: 19.28hrs on Wed 14 Jan 09
Very interesting I'll have to chase down some of these references.

There was a paper prepared by the Sports Council or the English Ski Federation or some similar body, in the late 1960s that looked at snow holding in northern England. It was partly that paper that led our Club to settle on Yad Moss as the site for a ski tow. Basically it is the highest, run of sufficient length and gradient adjacent to a public road in England !

With regard to snow patch survival the Lake District Ski Club will have some records stretching back to the 1930s in their archive. Skiing on Raise in May has taken place many times in the past I believe. We have also skied at Yad Moss on at least one occasion.

Several members of our Ski Club even managed to get into the centre spread of the Daily Mail when they skiied on a big patch of snow in the Kirkland Gulley, on Cross fell on the 2nd of July 1979. A patch ofs now was still visible on Cross Fell, from the M6, at the end of August that year.

I have also heard of snow remaining all year in a pot hole in Derbyshire.
firefly


Guest
Re: Attention all Walkers! 2008 Snow Patch Season
Date Posted: 20.48hrs on Wed 14 Jan 09
There's a bit about late-lying snow on Cross Fell here: [en.wikipedia.org]

Snow on the Cotswolds in July?! Incredible.
Chionophile


Guest
Re: Attention all Walkers! 2008 Snow Patch Season
Date Posted: 22.07hrs on Wed 14 Jan 09
Well spotted, Firefly, on Cross Fell in Wikipedia, and a good photo of snow in a hollow. Yes, seems incredible about Cotswolds in July, but Manley's account in his 1952 book looks reliable. On page 210, "Rarely there have been reports of strangely persistent drifts in exceptional places at much lower levels. In 1947 in a shady location, remnants of a drift in the Northern Cotswolds were visible until mid-July, and Bonacina has reported that in the same district in 1634 a snowdrift is said to have survived until August. Nearby, the village of Snowshill, eight hundred feet up with a northerly aspect, is likely to owe its name to past experience". The year 1634 would have been in the Little Ice Age, when the Thames at London often froze over. The 1947 ref is clearly reliable, and given that in 1947, a later survival in a colder period is to be expected.

Manley's references at the end of the chapter give LCW Bonacina (1927), Snowfall in the British Isles, 1876-1924. British Rainfall 67, p 260,
and also (1936), Snowfall in the British Isles, 1925-1936. British Rainfall 76, p 272. I do not have either of these papers. If anyone comes across them in a library and can photocopy or scan them, Firefly or I would be keen to get them for study and reference.

Manley (p 209) recounts an interesting story of Elizabeth Woodcock, who in February 1799 "floundered into a drift on her way home from Cambridge market to Impington three miles away, and was buried for eight days before she was rescued -- still alive --after hearing the Histon church bells twice". A 1799 snow-hole par excellence!
Southernboarder


Guest
Re: Attention all Walkers! 2008 Snow Patch Season
Date Posted: 14.43hrs on Thu 15 Jan 09
Cool,great information - I'll be checking out some of those references too.

That's amazing RE the Cotswolds - mainly beacause they are so low by comparison to other hills in teh country. Jogs my memory about Dartmoor - I seem to remember after a really big winter snow sitting there in drifts until summer on a number of occasions and once August?? Can't remember where I read it - will check it out. I think I have the paper at home - it's mainly on out of season snowfalls etc.

Peter S - do you know if a copy of the paper by Sports Council or the English Ski Federation RE N England still exists? Would be great to check it out.


SussexSnow


Guest
Re: Attention all Walkers! 2008 Snow Patch Season
Date Posted: 20.42hrs on Thu 15 Jan 09
The Cotswold one had me raising an eyebrow but given a decent cold spell it is amazing how long some snow will last given a good shady aspect.

An example from last week. Sunday 4th Jan. a very light flurry of snow over my neck of the woods - a shoulder of the Ashdown Forest. We got maybe 2cm of snow. Six days later I passed a shady tightly grazed field near us and it was still covered in the dusting. 450ft asl. Facing North, Pine trees on three sides. It's a classic frost hollow. Just goes to show the effectiveness of shade, aspect and pine trees for lowering the temp.


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