Australian ski industry on a downhill slope

Discussion in 'Snow Talk' started by Hunter, Aug 5, 2017.

  1. Hunter

    Hunter Part of the Furniture
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    Snowy retreat: Climate change puts Australia's ski industry on a downhill slope


    Australia's ski resorts face the prospect of a long downhill run as a warming climate reduces snow depth, cover and duration. The industry's ability to create artificial snow will also be challenged, scientists say.

    Resorts are also going to become more reliant on big snow dumps such as this weekend's blizzard – after a poor start to the season – as the frequency of smaller, top-up snowfalls diminish.

    • a major CSIRO-Bureau of Meteorology report. Under high greenhouse gas emissions pathway, snow at lower-elevation sites such as Mt Buffalo could all but disappear by 2050.

      Warming springs have led to stark impacts at the end of the ski season. Early October snow depths fell 30 per cent during the 2000-13 period compared with 1954-99, a separate study in 2015 found.
      • terms and conditions and privacy policy .

        'Step change'
        "What we're fearing is that at some point, it's not going to really snow that much any more. There's going to be a step change," Dr Remenyi said.
        • led a study on Australian snow trends, says that big dumps will still happen but warmer air and follow-up rains means the snow "probably won't stick around".

          "The projected trends are for declining rainfall for south-eastern Australia, and an increase in extreme events," Ms Photo gallery
          Dr Remenyi concurs, noting models point to a 20 per cent drop in precipitation by the end of the century. Alpine summers may collect more rainfall – in fewer, larger events – but other seasons will see a decline.

          The Victorian government is preparing a report in the future of alpine communities and the ski industry later this year.

          NSW is working with the University of NSW to assess changing climate and snowmaking conditions, with research due out late this year or early 2018.

          Industry view
          Colin Hackworth, chief executive of the Australian Ski Areas Association, said the $1.5 billion industry has long recognised "if you have no snow, you have no business". Investments in snowmaking dates from the 1980s.

          Popular resorts such as Mt Buller in Victoria have managed to extend operational days from about 100 in the 1970s to 106 in a typical year now, even with less natural snow. Diversification has also brought in "snow tourists", with many visitors just heading to the mountains to seek the white stuff rather than to ski or snowboard, he says.

          "The industry is remarkably resilient," Mr Hackworth said. "It's a mature industry but it's growing every year."

          Nor are resorts denying global warming is serious. Thredbo in NSW recently hosted a Protect Our Winters event "to raise awareness of the impact of climate change on our mountain environment".

          And Vail Resorts, which operates Perisher, calls climate change "one of the most significant challenges facing every country, every business and every person on our planet". It aims for a zero environmental footprint by 2030.

          Challenges, though, are only likely to intensify. Snow guns are becoming less efficient as humidity rises, reduce output of artificial snow by as much as 70 per cent as they ice up, Dr Remenyi said.

          New "snow factories" have been introduced to Mt Buller and Mt Selwyn in Victoria, and more are likely. They create ice shavings with longer durability than gun-fired snow.

          But warming temperatures will raise costs to maintain artificial snow cover, Dr Remenyi said. A study he helped write on the potential impact of climate change on Victoria's resorts found that "by 2020- 2030 conditions suitable for snowmaking are projected to decline substantially".

          [​IMG]
          Expected reduction in snow-making hours at key Victorian resorts.

          'Fragile ecology'
          And as the NSW Nature Conservation Council notes in a new study on the effects of a warming planet, impacts in alpine regions aren't restricted to humans' winter pastimes.

          The endangered pygmy possum, for instance, has had its range shrunk to a little as 10 square kilometres.

          "The wildlife that lives in the Australia snowfields are at the front line of global warming because they are so sensitive to rising temperatures and changed snowfall patterns," Kate Smolski, council chief executive, said.

          "If deep, long-lasting snow cover disappears, the fragile ecology of snowfields will unravel because the plants and animals that live there have nowhere else to go."
    http://www.smh.com.au/environment/c...stry-on-a-downhill-slope-20170804-gxp74h.html
     
  2. kimberlee81

    kimberlee81 Dedicated Member

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    ^^Yep, just ask the locals at Buller how much the snowline has crept uphill since the mid 1990s...
     
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  3. kiter

    kiter Active Member

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    slow news day . Tell us something we dont know
     
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  4. Boodwah

    Boodwah Dedicated Member
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    All a bunch of baloney according to @Taipan
    In fact, he INSISTS that the snow-line is going to actually lower, snowpack thicken, and the season lengthen.
    Really, it's true folks. Check out his conspiracy websites.
    Although he's not willing to actually place a bet on it...
     
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  5. JoeKing

    JoeKing Part of the Furniture
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    But dat headline is fantastic. You gotta at least admit that.
     
  6. BillyKidd

    BillyKidd Dedicated Member
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    ^^^^^^^^ This........:zzz:
     
  7. Richard

    Richard Addicted Member
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    OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



















    Colin Hackworth is still in charge of things.... :out:
     
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  8. Hully

    Hully Dedicated Member

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    ..... and this crap.

    "Diversification has also brought in"snow tourists", with many visitors justheading to the mountains to seekthe white stuff rather than to ski orsnowboard, he says."

    Nothing to do with diversification....Mt Donna Buang, Lake Mountain etc no longer get snow (reliable snow) so people have to drive further afield to snow play. At Falls the resort on weekends is getting busier and busier but the ski area isn't. The visitors may be coming but they aren't supporting the expensive infrastructure/management structures in place..... hence FCRM $850K in the red operational result for 2016 on the back of great resort visitor numbers (according to Annual Report).
     
    #8 Hully, Aug 5, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2017
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  9. BillyKidd

    BillyKidd Dedicated Member
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    OMG is right........how can this be? :headbang:
     
  10. WaitAwhile

    WaitAwhile Dedicated Member
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    Its interesting when they talk about snowy hydro 2 , but it has one very fatal flaw , diminishing snowfall.
     
  11. Taipan

    Taipan Part of the Furniture
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    Lying scumbag.

    Didnt think i didn't notice did you!

    Challenged you to a $100,000 bet last year - with lawyers, with money down on the board room table, face to face and you slunk away into your hole.

    Where the pheck were you @Boodwah!

    12 months later this is what you run around saying.

    Pathetic.

    We note you didn't post any conspiracy web sites that I promote. Why? Because I dont promote any web sites.

    And don't re-challenge on the eve of what will likely become one of the great dumps for the Australian ski fields this century
     
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  12. BillyKidd

    BillyKidd Dedicated Member
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    Diminishing snowfall but they'll take rain.....diminishing also but less so than snow with temp increase.....'course it could all be bullshit....we'll know in about 50 years though.
     
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  13. BillyKidd

    BillyKidd Dedicated Member
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    It's on! :woohoo:
     
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  14. Taipan

    Taipan Part of the Furniture
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    As for the rest of this thread. Here is some reality.

    The entire planet has been warming since the maunder minimum.

    Pratically all of that has been natural. Nothing to do with AGW.

    I started skiing in 1979. In the 1980's, your average greenie was running around - backed by James Hansen promoting global warming that by now there would be a few drifts in the Australian Alps every year.

    That the temperature would warm and that there would be no ski industry 10 years ago.

    That didnt happen. Dr David Evans who worked on modelling global warming for the Australian government, went away and looked at the entire global warming climate models which number over 100.

    Pulling this apart, he identified that the physics is correct (and why so many sub optimally trained people believe that AGW will happen), however in 2 seperate points the physics that do have stricked rules were applied incorrectly.

    Applying those rules correctly results in just 20% of the warming being caused by humans.

    Now you cant tell hundreds of thousands of academic people in well paying positions that they got 98% correct, but you failed on the 2% and because of that you all fail. Oh and BTW your out of a job. They tend to get upset, aggressive or belligerent.

    Meanwhile the planet doesnt care about upset, aggressive or belligerent.

    The planet will now start into a very gradual cooling phase.

    In the next 30 years the snow line in Australia will gradually start to lower.

    Ignore the grennies - bunch of tofu eating ratbags
     
    #14 Taipan, Aug 5, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2017
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  15. kimberlee81

    kimberlee81 Dedicated Member

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    ^^Wow, alcohol has so much to answer for!
     
  16. kimberlee81

    kimberlee81 Dedicated Member

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    (Or should that be alco-mo-hol...?)
     
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  17. BillyKidd

    BillyKidd Dedicated Member
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    No, no. Let's keep this evidence based. No ad hominem stuff. It could be interesting.
     
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  18. WaitAwhile

    WaitAwhile Dedicated Member
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    Except when it falls as snow it sits in storage for 3-6 months as opposed to flowing straight down the mountain, it pretty well quadruples the amount of water you can hold in storage.
     
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  19. Taipan

    Taipan Part of the Furniture
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    You were born the year i skied one of the great years of the Australian ski industry. Snow so deep you almost cant imagine. Lodge rooves cracking under the snow pack weight!

    The next year when you were still in nappies, 1982 still challenges for one of the worst ski years of all time. Even compared to years over the last decade.

    Everybody forgets 1982 and how bad it was.

    Don't forget that was only 12 years after the AGW was supposed to really kick in.

    Now @kimberlee81 I could unload on you, but I wont. Your probably a very nice person.

    Take a deep breath and ignore the people you hang with. Snow line during your lifetime will start to lower which will end up with some epic seasons during that time!

    Oh and BTW - Boodwah did challenge me to respond to his bullshit comments. He was probably feeling unloved elsewhere.
     
  20. BillyKidd

    BillyKidd Dedicated Member
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    Actually I skied the entire '82 season at FC. In spite of the really terrible snow levels (especially compared to the truly epic 1981, which was ....well, huge don't begin to describe it) the skiing was excellent.......summit and back and until the Oct long weekend. By excellent I mean you could still have a lot of fun (though it was Year of the Rockhopper). It's interesting that the increase in vegetative cover on slopes and tree extent (much more now than there was 30 or so years ago) seems to have reduced available snowpack longevity though I stand to be corrected on that....simply an observation (which I guess we could test against the fire exposed areas). Anyhoo, 82 was fun.
     
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  21. BillyKidd

    BillyKidd Dedicated Member
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    If you've ever melted snow for drinking or cooking you'll know you need 10 units of snow/volume to get 1 unit of water. Sure you get snow on the ground but if temps were a little warmer and you were getting winter fronts through, with rain rather than snow, my guess is you'd get a lot more in the dams up high.
     
    #21 BillyKidd, Aug 5, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2017
  22. kimberlee81

    kimberlee81 Dedicated Member

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    NOT born in '81. By then I'd been skiing quite a few years. (See post in heaviest snowfalls, from when I worked at Hotham in the legendary winter of '84)
     
  23. Born2ski

    Born2ski Part of the Furniture

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    Bad move Boodwah, you should have left it in the bear pit. How long now before the thread gets shut down ?
     
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  24. Touch'n'know

    Touch'n'know Just Registered

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    Oh dear, Taipan... let me guess..

    Old, retired, white male with previous employment in geology, engineering or an 'assumed' competency in basic physics?.. keep living in those dream days of the 80s mate, I can assure you they ain't coming back any time soon (absent a terrific volcanic eruption or meteor impact!) There's no conspiracy, twinkle toes, it's just basic physics, observationally confirmed on a thousand fronts. Here's your precious snowpack trend:

    http://gergs.net/2014/04/adding-rocky-valley-dam-falls-creek/nsw_victoria_peak_depths/
     
  25. WaitAwhile

    WaitAwhile Dedicated Member
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    But what happens once the winter rains stop ,if you can store massive amounts of water in the snow pack ,the streams keep on flowing for months.
    Its what makes hydro electric schemes so much more effective in areas with high snowfall.
    It like a drip feed system. Long after the rain has disappeared the creeks from the Alpine areas continue to fed water into the dams .
    The snowpack contains huge amounts of water..
    You only have to spend enough time up around the Aussie ski resorts at the end of the season to really understand how much water starts to flow once it all starts to melt, and it goes on 24/7 for months , long after the winter rains have finished.
     
  26. dawooduck

    dawooduck Pool Room
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    FFS
     
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  27. BillyKidd

    BillyKidd Dedicated Member
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    Its the dam content that drives hydro - very true. Ideally you'd like to accumulate the water head at a constant rate but of course it is seasonal, so during winter you want to get as much as you can. You don't really care whether it is snow or rain. Except that you do. In the US and Canada around 70% of catchment water is provided by snow-melt. But that is because of the amount of snow and the area subject to snowfall/snow-pack. In Australia the snow-pack puts in about 5% (or less) into the Murray/Darling catchment, a little more into hydro storage when taken in isolation, but in reality the bulk of catchment water at any level is provided by rain, which is the dominant precip form here. Keep in mind that the depth of accumulated snow and the area we have subject to snow-pack is tiny. With rising temps you would expect snow less often than rain in the winter period (which you get now anyway). Over time the models suggest that it will be getting dryer so even rain will back off. And again, an inch of rain is, as a rule of thumb, the equivalent of 10 inches of snow (subject to temps and whether it is packed etc). So yes, you can accumulate a water store in the snow-pack but, in Australia, a large amount of water into the dams fell as rain and is filtering through as surface water and ground water, the latter percolating into the dams. That is a lot of what you see in the Spring (with the addition of snow-melt). For the hydro people they'd prefer 10 inches of rain to 10 inches of snow any day - in the SE Aus context.
     
    #27 BillyKidd, Aug 5, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2017
  28. Taipan

    Taipan Part of the Furniture
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    So if this theory is to be believed, then the issue is only about temperature and not about long term rainfall trends.

    Eg rainfall hasn't changed, only the way it arrives. Eg rain or snow.
     
  29. Taipan

    Taipan Part of the Furniture
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    Thankyou. And you must be one of those young brainwashed snowflakes who have been taught by old jaded Marxists.

    Please take it to the bear pit where we can discuss this issue more fully.
     
  30. WaitAwhile

    WaitAwhile Dedicated Member
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    Except dams cannot hold an infinite amount of water , at some point when they get to full capacity the water had to be released ,irrespective of weather you need to generate electricity that is not really required. .
    You end up with a facility that sits idle for months at time because it relies totally on rainfall as opposed to steam flow that continues to flow months after the winter rains have finished .
     
  31. BillyKidd

    BillyKidd Dedicated Member
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    Which is why you would prefer to have the head water recharge on a continuous basis. And the stream flow in Australia is primarily surface and ground water, not snow melt, for the reasons outlined above (ie: from winter rains, not winter snow).
     
  32. BillyKidd

    BillyKidd Dedicated Member
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    Actually not saying that at all - this is only a comment in regard to what currently contributes most to the head water charge in the hydro dams, snow or rain. In Oz it is rain (see above) both immediate (direct) and slower flowing surface and ground water.
     
  33. Taipan

    Taipan Part of the Furniture
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    Quick search of the net indicates less moisture bearing events, but they bring slightly more per event.

    So the issue is as much about the availability of rain/snow, as it is about how it arrives. Eg cold enough to be snow rather then rain.

    So a declining snow pack could very well be as much about less rainfall, rather then rising temperatures.
     
  34. Marty_McSly

    Marty_McSly Addicted Member
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    There's something I didn't know. ;)
     
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  35. Red_switch

    Red_switch Part of the Furniture
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    Unless you have a reasonable snowmelt input, dams are a pretty terrible way of storing water in sub-humid climates.

    The North Americans (generally) understand this pretty well which is why they specifically target snowmelt dominated catchments.
     
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  36. Red_switch

    Red_switch Part of the Furniture
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    Unless you have a reasonable snowmelt input, dams are a pretty terrible way of storing water in sub-humid climates.

    The North Americans (generally) understand this pretty well which is why they specifically target snowmelt dominated catchments.
     
  37. FlatLander

    FlatLander Active Member

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    This is spot on Hully, I remember in the 90's the ratio of sking visitors to non-sking visitors was about 80% to 20% (which is pretty big when you think about it) although now I would guess that the non-sking visitor % is actually greater. And yes, go to Hotham and Falls mid-week and you could fire a canon down most runs and not hit anyone. Weekends are always busy and getting busier, for many reasons 1) unreliable snow so people decide at last minute, 2) cost, 3) the more advanced skiers/boarders are waiting for quality conditions to justify making the journey, 4) cost, 5) mis-information leads to unfulfilled expectations, 6) cost of sking locally compared to OS, 7) cost , etc etc etc

    And the media calling this the blizzad of Oz, FFS, today is only the 4th double digit snow fall in cms this season (I think) gone are the days of 24hr falls of 40 to 50cm, and prior to this snow fall the snowline looked like spring very high and thin, this front will pass then it will warm up again, within a short space of time it will look like spring again
     
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  38. W0nkey D0nkey

    W0nkey D0nkey Active Member

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    I would love to see this happen... Hope your right @Taipan
     
  39. shabu_shabu

    shabu_shabu Active Member

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    Snowy Hydro 2.0 is pumped hydro. The current proposal is to run it between Tantangara and Talbingo. Basically uses the same body of water and so lower precipitation shouldn't adversely affect its viability. Unlike dozens of other hurdles.
     
  40. Boodwah

    Boodwah Dedicated Member
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    No, I challenged you.
    Go back and check the thread.
    True I lost interest when you decided you needed to lawyer-up. I have no interest in lawyers except to buy property. And I have easier and more enjoyable ways of making money than picking on someone who lacks basic scientific qualifications, who has demonstrated time and time again an alarming misunderstanding of scientific principles, and frequently misappropriates his 'scientific' opinions for reality.
     
  41. Kelpieboy

    Kelpieboy Dedicated Member

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    I must admit that particular " fact" took me completely by surprise , I could have sworn it was located not far from me at Tumbarumba but I guess you live and learn.
     
  42. BillyKidd

    BillyKidd Dedicated Member
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    Why?
     
  43. Kelpieboy

    Kelpieboy Dedicated Member

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    By the way , there is gathering scientific evidence for what Taipan is claiming , some of us in the primary production sector located close to the Alpine regions are taking note of it as well. We may not have the qualifications required to either gather the evidence or to draw the conclusions that the expert analysts are starting to unveil however it would be madness for us to discount any and all evidential theories in this area.
     
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  44. Red_switch

    Red_switch Part of the Furniture
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    Because evaporation.
     
  45. BillyKidd

    BillyKidd Dedicated Member
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    Which happens all the time, more in summer of course.
     
  46. Annabuzzy

    Annabuzzy Part of the Furniture
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    I'm super suspicious about the timing of this report. What are the odds of the release coinciding with a major snow event? Coincidence? Mmmm.

    As for the snow conditions this year, they've not been anything spring like. There's been pretty consistently low temps which has kept what snow has fallen in good condition. There's been no major rain events I can think of. This snow event will set up the balance of the season.

    Wasn't skiing supposed to be non viable by 2020? I remember reading that some time ago. Unless things go super pear shaped the next few years we'll have plenty of good skiing in 2020
     
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  47. Red_switch

    Red_switch Part of the Furniture
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    Yes, but evaporative losses from standing water are generally greater than losses from the snowpack by sublimation. This is what makes snow a good reservoir.

    The best place to store water is still in the ground, mind you.
     
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  48. WaitAwhile

    WaitAwhile Dedicated Member
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    What makes hydro electric schemes much more cost effective in areas with a large snowpack is that you can dramatically increase the amount of water that you can hold for storage , or to look at in in pure dollars and cents you can build a storage facility (dam) that is smaller than you need in an area without a snowpack.
    I dont know how much it costs to build a dam, especially the concrete gravity types , but if you could build them smaller , and then hold the water in the snowpack it saves a lot of money during the initial construction phase.
    Its hard for people that live in towns or cities and get their water by just turning on a tap, to get their head around it
    But if you rely on tanks(own storage) for fresh drinking water , you can only store x amount of water , anything over that goes out the overflow , just gets wasted , especially when you have long hot summers and inadequate water to last through the summer once the rainfall drops right away , but your consumption(water usage) stays the same.By having a snowpack available it extends your streamflow for many months, long after the rainfall has disappeared.
     
  49. BillyKidd

    BillyKidd Dedicated Member
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    Fine in North America where the snowpack is usually sufficient to self insulate etc (pack down over a long season etc) as noted abve (it contributes approx 70% of inflow to storage) but not in Australia where the same conditions do not prevail. We have f*ck all snow in other words.
     
  50. BillyKidd

    BillyKidd Dedicated Member
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    Yea, but to repeat, we do not have the snowpack conditions here. (And in fact in BC and Colorado recently the snowpack limit due to prevailing winter drought conditions reduced inflows substantially). This winter gone California had good inflows. In Aus re rely on rainfall events with direct, surface and ground water charge into the dams. Our snowpack contributes around 5% only.