Slope Aspect and Snowmelt

With high temperatures reaching the fifties this week, the snow is finally – and slooooowly – starting to melt. However, it doesn’t melt at a uniform rate everywhere on the property. A number of factors can affect how fast the snow melts in a particular spot, one of which is aspect, the direction a slope faces.

Here is what the northern shore of one of the lakes on campus looked like this morning:


And here’s the southern shore of the same lake:


On the northern side of the lake, the sloping shore is facing toward the south, so it gets more sun each day and the snow melts faster as a result. You can see this same effect just driving along the roads here, with bare ground on the northern side of the road while the southern side still has a layer of snow.

I’m going to be donning long underwear and snowshoes to trek into the woods this afternoon, but there is a glimmer of hope in our weather forecast for the weekend!


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