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Snow depth at Old Crow
Snow density at Old Crow and Eagle Plains
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Arctic Borderlands Ecological Knowledge Co-op

Snow Depth at Eagle Plains

Snow Depth at Eagle Plains

What is happening?

  • This graph shows the year-to-year variation in the amount of snow that is present at the beginning of March, April and May in Eagle Plains. Years where snow melt was early or late can be easily picked out by looking at May snow levels. For instance, the 2000, 2001 and 2002 springs were late resulting in relatively high snow depths at the beginning of May.
  • There do not appear to be any trends in the amount of snow accumulation or the rate of snow melt at Eagle Plains.

Why is it happening?

  • Annual variations in winter precipitation levels and early spring temperatures result in year-to-year differences in the amount of snow that is present in late winter and how quickly it melts. Other factors can also affect how fast the snow melts, such as the amount of wind in the spring and how much dirt and debris is present in the snow.

Why is it important?

  • Winter snow depth and the timing of snow have important effects on both wildlife and vegetation. The snow pack provides a winter habitat for small mammals and gives insulation to vegetation located below the snow surface. Large amounts of snow may hinder movement and access to food for some large mammals, such as caribou and moose.
  • The timing of snow melt also has an important effect on the start of the growing season, which affects the timing of food availability for many animals and influences the reproductive and vegetative development of plants.

Technical Notes

  • The graph presented here covers the span of continuous records of annual snow depth at Eagle Plains, Yukon Territory. Data is missing for May 1, 1983 and May 15, 1988. The snow depth record for Eagle Plains also includes spot measurements made in 1983 and 1984 (not presented here). May 15 measurements are no longer taken as of 1995.

Text revised: Feb. 17, 2004     Data added: Dec. 1, 2004