July 23, 2009

Snow depth guessing competition?

With the Spencer's creek snow depth for 2009 being on the rise for the last three weeks and the depth now - at the end of July - being about 120cm, I thought it would be interesting to look at the depth at the end of July, and the corresponding season maximum for the last twenty years.

Here's the scatter plot (x-axis July, y-axis season max.):

Season max and last week of July 1990 to 2008

The scatter plot doesn't tell any great secrets. Obviously more snow at the end of July is related to a higher season maximum. Interestingly though, there's a couple of years visible there that started late, with less than 100cm at the end of July and still ended up with a season maximum near to 300cm. Those years were 1991 and 1992 (comparison).

Apart from those two years though, the not-so-good seasons of 1993, 1997, 1998, 2005 and 2006 seem to be a distinct group at the bottom left which 2009 does not belong to.

What does all that mean? Not much except that if there's over a metre of snow on the ground at the end of July then the season won't be rubbish. Of course, that's almost as good as saying nothing at all, given that the season is half over.

Of course, 2009 has so far very closely resembled 2008 (comparison) from the premature dump in May to the 120cm or so on the ground at the end of July. A betting man would probably go for something between 150cm and 200cm around the middle of August as the season maximum for 2009.

That said, trying at the end of July to predict the season maximum based on a handful of historical figures is bound to be about as accurate as reading tea leaves. As such, my only prediction for season 2009 is that the maximum depth will be 120cm or more.

Posted at 11:35 PM