Solid-to-Liquid Ratio Analysis

    •  To explore SLR  measured at the summit in relation to different weather variables including temperature, wind, and seasonality.
    •  To better understand the weather and climate on the northeastern United States’ highest peak and analyze climatological averages and trends.
    • Improve snowfall forecasting for the higher summits based on expected weather conditions over the forecast period.

      Download Solid-to-Liquid Ratio Analysis Report
      Download Solid-to-Liquid Ratio Analysis Presentation
Motivation and History
The Mount Washington Observatory is known for its extreme weather conditions and harsh winters. Knowledge of the climatological mean and factors that influence the summit’s solid-to-liquid ratio (SLR) is important in order to accurately forecast snow accumulations, community impacts, and avalanche conditions. This research explores the relationship between the SLR and parameters such as temperature, wind speed, wind direction, seasonality, and the amount of solid and liquid precipitation accumulation. This analysis will provide insight into the complex atmospheric environment, forecasting, and atmospheric dynamics of Mount Washington. 
Scope of Work

Further exploration into the seasonal variance of SLR by comparing SLR values over many seasons and months is necessary to determine how variable or stable this relationship has been in the past. Though this research began to give insights into the SLR’s relationship to various atmospheric variables within a single year, it has also opened the door to many unanswered questions which are detailed in the further work section of the report above. Further exploration of the interaction between SLR and different meteorological parameters for 2023 is still necessary, and the Mount Washington Observatory’s vast dataset allows the expansion of this project to go back into the 1930s. By examining this extended record, the attribution of variations in SLR to corresponding variations in atmospheric parameters will be determined with more accuracy and precision. 

External Relevance
In addition to being valuable to the MWO because of the opportunity to investigate this as yet little-explored climatological parameter at a unique location in Northern New England. Findings from this project would likely be of value to meteorologists, snow scientists, avalanche forecasters, and outdoor enthusiasts so that may be better prepared for the winter conditions experienced at higher elevations in the greater White Mountains region.

Related Scientific Literature 

Alcott, T.I. & Steenburgh, W.J. (2010) Snow-to-liquid ratio variability and prediction at a high-elevation site in Utah’s Wasatch Mountains. Weather and Forecasting, 25(1), 323–337. 

Baxter, M.A., Graves, C.E., & Moore, J.T. (2005). A climatology of snow-to-liquid ratio for the contiguous United States. Weather and Forecasting, 20(5), 729–744. 

Ware, E.C., Schultz, D.M., Brooks, H.E., Roebber, P.J., & Bruening, S.L. (2006). Improving snowfall forecasting by accounting for the climatological variability of snow density. Weather and Forecasting, 21(1), 44(9), 94–103. 

Jay Broccolo, Director of Weather Operations

Contributing Research: Tricia Hutton