Aspen Journalism is compiling a data dashboard highlighting metrics of local public interest, updated at least weekly by mid-day Tuesday.
Snowpack above historical averages
SNOTEL sites that monitor snowfall throughout the winter measured the snowpack at Independence Pass at 111.5% of average on Jan. 2, with a “snow water equivalent” (SWE) of 7.91 inches. That’s a significant jump from 6.5 inches of SWE the week prior, which represented 98.4% of average. Last year on Jan. 2, the SNOTEL station up the pass recorded an SWE of 5.71 inches.
The Indy Pass is not the only one with a SWE higher than its average. The snowstorm that happened around Christmas and Christmas Eve brought local snowpack at various stations to exceed their historical averages.
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 8.31 inches, or 124% of average, on Jan. 2. A week before, the station reported 5.2 inches of water contained in the snowpack, or 88.1% of average. Last year, on that same day, the station measured a snowpack holding 4.29 inches of water, or 64% of average.
On the northeast side of the Roaring Fork Basin, snowpack at Ivanhoe contains higher water levels than the 1991-2020 average as well, with 8.7 inches on Jan. 2, which is 138.1% of the average of 6.3 inches. It’s also up from last year’s 5.59 inches of SWE.
Air temperature dropped around Christmas
Temperatures decreased last week, from a high of 42°F on Dec. 23, which is 10.6 degrees above normal, to a high of 31°F on Dec. 27, which is 0.6 degrees below normal, according to temperatures recorded at the Aspen/Pitkin County Airport. The minimum dropped from 25°F on Dec. 24 to 14°F on Dec. 25 and then went up to 20°F on Dec. 27, which is 13.2°F above normal.
Last week’s air quality was ‘good’ in Aspen
The air quality in Aspen was “good” this past week. The AQI index for ozone ranged from 34 on Dec. 30 to 42 on Jan. 1.
- Colorado’s Division of Water Resources
- Bureau of Reclamation
- Aspen Consolidated Sanitation District
- Aspen Global Change Institute