Taken today, by me. c E.M.Smith (Permission to use non-commercially provided photo credit given. Higher res available).
There is this rather interesting “barometer” of local weather. Mount Hamilton. It has an observatory on top of it, that includes a weather station or two. It sometimes gets snow. During the ’80s and ’90s, snow had become a ‘sometimes’ thing. During the ’60s and ’70s it was more of a frequent thing. In the last couple of years, we’ve gone back to frequent.
Folks sometimes would go ‘up the hill’ to play in the snow. Then in the early ’80s the area became subject to ‘snow closures’. Too many folks on a very narrow road to please the ‘locals’ who pressured their local politicians who decided to keep everyone else out. So you get to show your license to the poor cop who ends up stuck at the bottom of the hill every time it snows…
During the ’90s and even the “oughties” this wasn’t all that often, and, IMHO, folks forgot about playing in the snows of Mount Hamilton. Now we’ve had a few years of ‘snow frequently’. I suspect that a record of snows on Mount Hamilton would be a very useful measure of ‘warming or not?’.
In the last few decades, the only snow would come during the dead of winter. It was typically freezing here in the valley, so any rain fell as snow on the mountain. Then it would rapidly melt and be gone, even at elevation. What makes this picture special, for me, is that this is just a bit before the official start of spring. I have peas, kale, and potatoes already growing in the garden along with some early beans set out. Turnips and lima beans being started. So far this year we’ve had little rain and less snow in the mountains. Finally the rains came last weekend. Thus this snow on Mount Hamilton…
Wunderground reports it as about 70 F “near me”
San Jose Flea Market, San Jose, CA 68.4 °F – 46 °F 45% NW at 5.8 mph 0.00 in / hr 80 ft 1 sec ago Rapid Fire
Berryessa, San Jose, CA 69.0 °F – 47 °F 45% NW at 7.0 mph 0.00 in / hr 131 ft 1 min 30 sec ago Normal
Alum Rock Park, San Jose, CA 70.2 °F – 30 °F 23% South at 3.1 mph 0.00 in / hr 203 ft 33 sec ago Normal
SJSU-ATN, San Jose, CA 69.8 °F 77 °F 47 °F 42% NW at 8.0 mph 0.00 in / hr 79 ft 1 sec ago Rapid Fire
What this says to me is that the “shortened atmospheric height” we’ve seen from the reduced UV level has a more pronounced effect on mountain tops.
I would expect that looking at higher elevations would show their temperatures dropping faster than those of us at low elevations. I would also expect that places which had been losing high elevation snows and glaciers will start to build.
IMHO, the emphasis on “Grids” and “Boxes” ignores this very important point: It isn’t just the box perimeter that matters, it’s the elevations inside that box as well.
During the times I was looking at GIStemp, I’d noticed that GHCN had reduced the high altitude coverage. Thermometers had fled the mountains for lower elevations. This “locked in” a cold baseline and warming trend. Now those places can not be filled in with the correct temperatures, as the vertical atmospheric height has changed. The Four on the beach in California can not inform us about the recent changes in Mount Hamilton. Nor can the Andes be properly reported
This is a structural bias that is now locked into the GHCN. The only way to fix it is to put back in the thermometers at altitude. Until that is done, the GHCN is useless for describing what is really happening in the world. As all three major temperatures series (HADCrut, GIStemp, NCDC) are based on the GHCN in large part; they too are useless.
But the snow is still on the mountain for everyone to see. Even in springtime in the valley…
The observatory weather stations:
An article about this last snow:
From the 17th, before the snow:
Snow possible on Bay Area peaks this weekend
Saturday, March 17, 2012
(03-16) 12:23 PDT MOUNT DIABLO STATE PARK — A frigid mass of Alaskan air blowing south will bring a chance of snow to Bay Area peaks this weekend, forecasters said today.
The snow level could fall to 2,000 feet late Saturday, meaning there’s a chance flakes will stick on the peaks of Mount Diablo, Mount Tamalpais and Mount Hamilton, said Chris Stumpf, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
Looks like they were right…
Though it looks like a bit more than “flakes” sticking here and there…