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Observation: Atwater

Observation Date
11/20/2022
Observer Name
C. Alden, G. Alden
Region
Salt Lake » Little Cottonwood Canyon » Atwater
Location Name or Route
Atwater
Snow Profile
Aspect
Southwest
Elevation
8,800'
Comments
As many have noted in recent days, the cold, clear days of the last week+ have lead to the faceting of much of the early season snowpack. On a true solar aspect with no nearby treecover, a stout (pencil hand hardness) radiation recrystallization crust was observed with roughly 2cm of near surface facets above the crust. One other point to note is the existence of small (~1-1.5mm) surface hoar on the snow surface (Photo 1). While not as well developed or widespread as the surface hoar that has been observed on polar aspects, its is still interesting considering this slope likely receives 6+ hours of direct sun this time of year and highs at 9000' in LCC were >35F. However, it appears that the low sun angle and cold, clear nights have allowed the surface hoar to persist on some solar aspects.
Similar to other observations at comparable altitudes (Talty, Fairfield), a layer of graupel was observed mid pack. Additionally, a number of crusts (possibly sun crusts between precipitation events in October) in the lower half of the profile have confined the steep temperature gradients to the upper layers, with sintered rounds (Photo 2) and minimal faceting and observed below HS 61.
Depending on how the upcoming warmer temperatures affect the snow pack, there maybe lingering persistent weak layer issues after the next loading event on solar aspects as well with the widespread near surface faceting and radiation recrystallization crust.
Today's Observed Danger Rating
Low
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating
Low
Coordinates