5.1 From Cloud to Crust: Integrating Atmospheric Microphysics and Snowpack Science

Tuesday, 24 January 2017: 1:30 PM
308 (Washington State Convention Center )
Richard Wagner, Metropolitan State Univ. of Denver, Denver, CO; and D. Lerach and N. Barlow

Topics in cloud microphysics and precipitation processes have long been a staple of physical meteorology courses taught at the undergraduate level.  In particular, understanding the formation and growth of snow in its various forms and scales requires an intimate grasp of thermodynamics and moisture gradients through the cloud.  The detailed characteristics of the cloud environment and interactions between frozen hydrometeors produce unique falling snow. In much the same way, the thermodynamics and microphysics within the snowpack are essential for understanding the crystal habits and layers formed within a snow profile.  The morphology of crystal growth and grain bonding to produce such features as depth hoar, faceted crystals, and crusts provides a final chapter to the fascinating evolution of snow from ice nucleus to potential avalanche.
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