Depth Hoar Questions
Ok, there has been a bit of discussion about this in relation to early season snow on the Colorado Conditions thread, so lets talk about depth hoar.
If I understand it correctly, depth hoar forms when we get some early season snow and then it doesn't snow for a while. It happens on a thin snowpack where a temperature gradient forms in the snow between the warm ground and cold air temp. A thicker snowpack weakens the temperature gradient, therefore creating unfavorable conditions for the formation of depth hoar.
Everyone seems to think the October snow is going to mess up the snowpack for most of the upcoming season. Obviously, getting a big snowstorm or two then a month of nothing is going to be bad news in terms of a persistent weak layer.
My question is, what's wrong with October snow as long it keeps snowing? If we get a consistent snowfall throughout this month and next without periods of drought, wouldn't we avoid the depth hoar problem? And, how often does it need to snow to avoid formation of depth hoar? For instance, in Colorado lately, the higher elevations have been getting snow at least once a week. I think that's pretty good, snow wise. Most others, think it's bad news.