Aspen Journalism is compiling a data dashboard highlighting metrics of local public interest, updated at least weekly by mid-day Tuesday.
Current snowpack close to historical averages
SNOTEL sites that monitor snowfall throughout the winter measured the snowpack at Independence Pass at 98.4% of average on Dec. 26, with a “snow water equivalent” (SWE) of 6.5 inches. That’s a significant jump from 4.88 inches of SWE the week prior, which represented 80% of average. The snowpack at Independence Pass sharply increased on Dec. 23, from 4.88 inches of SWE on Dec. 22 to 5.12 on Dec. 23. Last year on Dec. 26, the SNOTEL station up the pass recorded an SWE of 4.88 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 5.2 inches, or 88.1% of average, on Dec. 26. A week before, the station reported 2.91 inches of water contained in the snowpack, or 57.1% of average. Last year, on that same day, the station measured a snowpack holding 3.31 inches of water, or 56.1% of average.
On the northeast side of the Roaring Fork Basin, snowpack at Ivanhoe contains higher water levels than the 1991-2020 average, with 7.09 inches on Dec. 26, which is 120.1% of the average of 5.9 inches. It’s also up from last year’s 4.8 inches of SWE.
Aspen-Pitkin County Airport records a temperature increase
Temperatures increased last week, from a high of 27°F on Dec. 17, which is 4.4 degrees below normal, to a high of 43°F on Dec. 23, which is 10.6 degrees above normal, according to temperatures recorded at the Aspen/Pitkin County Airport. The minimum increased from -4°F on Dec. 18 to 24°F on Dec. 23, which is 30.9°F above normal.
Clean air in Aspen
The air quality in Aspen was “good” this past week. The AQI index for ozone ranged from 11 on Dec. 26 to 43 on Dec. 21.
- Colorado’s Division of Water Resources
- Bureau of Reclamation
- Aspen Consolidated Sanitation District
- Aspen Global Change Institute