Aspen Journalism is compiling a data dashboard highlighting metrics of local public interest, updated at least every Tuesday. Check back for updates as we add more features.

Recent snow helps Roaring Fork watershed snowpack

Last week’s snowfalls boosted local snowpack. SNOTEL sites that monitor snowfall throughout the winter show the snowpack at Independence Pass at 80% of average on Dec. 20 with a “snow water equivalent” (SWE) of 4.88 inches, up from 4.49 inches of SWE last week, which represented 86.3% of average. Last year on Dec. 20, the SNOTEL station up the pass recorded an SWE of 4.41 inches.

Snow water equivalent — the metric used to track snowpack — is the amount of water contained within the snowpack, which will become our future water supply running in local rivers and streams.

The monitoring station at the lower-elevation McClure Pass recorded an SWE of 2.91 inches, or 57.1% of average, on Dec. 20. A week before, the station reported 2.28 inches of water contained in the snowpack, or 55.7% of average. Last year, on that same day, the station measured a snowpack holding 3.31 inches of water, or 64.8% of average.

On the northeast side of the Roaring Fork Basin, snowpack at Ivanhoe contains slightly higher water levels than the 1991-2020 average, with 5.31 inches on Dec. 20, which is 100.3% of the average of 5.3 inches. It’s also up from last year’s 4.41 inches of SWE.

Air temperature drop recorded in Aspen

As it started to snow, Aspen experienced a sharp temperature drop last week, from a high of 38°F on Dec. 9, which is 5.9 degrees above normal, to a high of 23°F on Dec. 11, which is 8.8 degrees below normal, according to temperatures recorded at the Aspen/Pitkin County Airport. Minimum dropped from 32°F on Dec. 10 to -7°F on Dec. 11, which is 15.3°F below normal.

Air quality remains ‘good’ in Aspen

The air quality in Aspen was “good” this past week. The AQI index for ozone ranged from 34 on Dec. 13 to 50 on Dec. 15.

Laurine Lassalle is Aspen Journalism’s data desk editor, where she works to catalogue and analyze local public data. She also heads our our “Tracking the Curve” project, documenting COVID-19 in Pitkin,...