Valley-floor snowfall in Taylor Valley, Antarctica, from 1995 to 2017: Spring, summer and autumn

TitleValley-floor snowfall in Taylor Valley, Antarctica, from 1995 to 2017: Spring, summer and autumn
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsMyers, M, Doran, PT, Myers, KF
JournalAntarctic Science
Date Published08/2022
Keywordsautomated weather station, camera, McMurdo Dry Valleys, snow cover, snow persistence

We present an analysis of the 20 year snowfall dataset in Taylor Valley and the results of a new snow cover monitoring study. Snowfall has been measured at four sites in Taylor Valley from 1995 to 2017. We focus on valley-floor snowfall when wind does not exceed 5 m s-1, and we exclude winter from our analysis due to poor data quality. Snowfall averaged 11 mm water equivalent (w.e.) from 1995 to 2017 across all stations and ranged from 1 to 58 mm w.e. Standard deviations ranged from 3 to 17 mm w.e., highlighting the strong interannual variability of snowfall in Taylor Valley. During spring and autumn there is a spatial gradient in snowfall such that the coast received twice as much snowfall as more central and inland stations. We identified a changepoint in 2007 from increasing snowfall (3 mm w.e. yr-1) to decreasing snowfall (1 mm w.e. yr-1), which coincides with a shift from decreasing temperature to no detectable temperature trend. Daily camera imagery from 2007 to 2017 augments the snowfall measurements. The camera imagery revealed a near tripling of the average number of days with snow cover from 37 days between 2006 and 2012 to 106 days with snow cover between 2012 and 2017.