Snowline. OK, So where exactly is it?

Ramshead

One of Us
Ski Pass
Apr 5, 2006
1,565
3,870
363
52
Sydney
Let's get this thing sorted once and for all, shall we?

After reading the weather OBS thread earlier today, which degenerated momentarily into a discussion/catfight about where the snowline is, I thought I'd start a discussion/catfight dedicated to this issue.

Here's my two cents. I reckon the snowline can be defined as the altitude above which continuous (ie non patchy)snow persists for the majority of the season - give or take a major rainstorm.

So I'm thinking, Southern VIC, about 1300m, northern VIC about 1350m, southern NSW (perisher Thredbo) 1400m and northern NSW (Selywn) 1450m.

Your thoughts?
 

Snow Blowey

Old n' Crusty
Ski Pass
Jan 7, 2004
26,869
26,121
1,063
Dubbo NSW
how long is a piece of string?

Without taking seasonal variation into account it depends on the aspect and geographical position of the slope. The snow line would be much lower on a south facing slope on the western side of the range, than a north facing slope adjacent to a flat valley on the eastern side of the range.

Then there is seasonal variation in snowfall, both amount and the elevation which it falls to.
 

Ian D

Pool Room
Staff member
Administrator
Mar 14, 1995
46,798
12,260
1,515
Newcastle
ski.com.au
I would put your summary as pretty damn close to the mark IMO.

You can't leave Tas out however. Ben sits at about 1450m and is just above the snow most years so it would seem that Tas can't be that much lower than Vic at about 1300m, perhaps a Taswegian can put some insight on that and it could be due to it be surrounded by water so humidity staying high or no cooling due to rising over ranges or something.
 

Donza

Dogs body...
Platinum
Apr 21, 2004
129,119
87,319
3,563
woonona
Howabout Hokkaido.?
Sea level.
Yet at the same latitude (realitive) as some of those places you posted.
 

Snow Blowey

Old n' Crusty
Ski Pass
Jan 7, 2004
26,869
26,121
1,063
Dubbo NSW
Donza said:
Howabout Hokkaido.?
Sea level.
Yet at the same latitude (realitive) as some of those places you posted.

and right next to a big cold (in winter) landmass.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Donza

Dogs body...
Platinum
Apr 21, 2004
129,119
87,319
3,563
woonona
Snow Blowey said:
Donza said:
Howabout Hokkaido.?
Sea level.
Yet at the same latitude (realitive) as some of those places you posted.

and right next to a big cold (in winter) landmass.
true that...amazing ain't it..
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Ramshead

One of Us
Ski Pass
Apr 5, 2006
1,565
3,870
363
52
Sydney
Fair points Snow Blowey. I guess I'm talking primarily about south facing slopes in average conditions. I mean, let's say you rock up to a resort in a more or less average season a week or so after the last major dump. where's the snow start?
 

BigWaveDave

Hard Yards
Jun 7, 2010
914
96
98
53
Sunshine Coast
www.surfshots.com.au
wiki definition..

The climatic snow line is the point above which snow and ice cover the ground throughout the year. The actual snow line may seasonally be significantly lower.

The interplay of altitude and latitude affects the precise placement of the snow line at a particular location. At or near the equator, it is typically situated at approximately 4,500 meters (or about 15,000 feet) above sea level. As one moves towards the Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn, the parameter at first increases: in the Himalayas the permanent snow line can be as high as 5,700 metres (18,700 feet). Beyond the Tropics the snow line becomes progressively lower as the latitude increases, to just below 3,000 metres in the Alps and falling all the way to sea level itself at the ice caps near the poles.

In addition, the relative location to the nearest coastline can influence the altitude of the snow line. Areas near a coast might have a lower snow line than areas of the same altitude and latitude situated in a landmass interior due to more winter snowfall and because the average summer temperature of the surrounding lowlands would be warmer away from the sea. A higher altitude is therefore necessary to lower the temperature further against the surroundings and keep the snow from melting in the summer.

Levels of the climatic snow line:
New Zealand 43°S 1600–2700 m
Central Alps 47°N 2900–3200 m
 

SCHUSS SKI TEAM

One of Us
May 24, 2004
1,203
2
188
I think the Thredbo valley is a good example. Thredbo (southern facing) side i would say the snowline is about 1200m - 1500m most of the winter. The opposite side of the mountain (northish facing) the snow line is about 1500m - 1800m

Snow line also depends on snowfalls. If the place receives large falls and constant top ups then the snow will be lower. If it is very dry then snow might never settle even if it is cold enough. Look at the permanent snowless areas in Antarctica.

Also in the ACT peaks of about 1800-1900, i don't think there is much of a snow line here at all. Snow falls, then melts away. Just a little south in the Mt Selwyn area, as mentioned above its 1450ish
 
Remove ads with a
Ski Pass

melty68

One of Us
Jul 7, 2007
1,144
182
213
53
cronulla nsw
whoops did i start this.....after going to thredbo for years...its about 1600m at merrits and about 1700m at crackenback...depends where the sun is.....thats why they had a station{kareela} on the crackenback chair lift just below the bluff...about as high as snow gums 1750m...no sun keeps the snow for ages.
 

Bogong

Part of the Furniture
Ski Pass
Jun 16, 2005
12,782
4,459
813
More woke than thou.
www.australianmountains.com
It would be below 1,100 metres in southern Tassie.

But Tassie (like Scotland and Whistler) has a maritime climate so things swing around a lot and are much more erratic and volatile than places with a more continental climate that are a fair way inland.
 

Snowdata

First Runs
Jun 7, 2008
6
2
0
Is there any permanent snow in Australia? I have researched Tassie weather/snow back to 1788, when the First Fleet sailed past in January 1788 and noted snow on the Southern Ranges (La Perouse-Pindars Pk). Surprisingly in the early 1960's the range held long life snowbanks at a mere 900m level. Nivation hollows occur on Mt Anne, Frenchmans Cap and number of other high peaks. Early explorers in the 1800s noted summer snowbanks that certainly lasted from one winter until the next. However, with increasing temperatures, drier years, the snowfalls have declined with cold outbreaks to low level (200m or less) becoming a thing of the past. The peaks of Cradle/Lake St Clair, Frenchmans Cap, King William, Anne, and others certainly hold snowdrifts around 1400m level and above well into the summer (I have been on Ossa (1615m) in February with its winter snow still unmelted). If we returned to the heavy snowfalls of the last century Tassie would still have long life snow,.However, the changing climate and forward predictions for Tas and the Australian Alps make the future for snowfalls look rather "bleak". (PS I hope I am wrong).
 

trappers

Safety not guaranteed
Moderator
Ski Pass
Jul 28, 1999
40,634
7,934
1,525
An airport
www.owithalinethroughit.com
Snowdata said:
Is there any permanent snow in Australia? I have researched Tassie weather/snow back to 1788, when the First Fleet sailed past in January 1788 and noted snow on the Southern Ranges (La Perouse-Pindars Pk). Surprisingly in the early 1960's the range held long life snowbanks at a mere 900m level. Nivation hollows occur on Mt Anne, Frenchmans Cap and number of other high peaks. Early explorers in the 1800s noted summer snowbanks that certainly lasted from one winter until the next. However, with increasing temperatures, drier years, the snowfalls have declined with cold outbreaks to low level (200m or less) becoming a thing of the past. The peaks of Cradle/Lake St Clair, Frenchmans Cap, King William, Anne, and others certainly hold snowdrifts around 1400m level and above well into the summer (I have been on Ossa (1615m) in February with its winter snow still unmelted). If we returned to the heavy snowfalls of the last century Tassie would still have long life snow,.However, the changing climate and forward predictions for Tas and the Australian Alps make the future for snowfalls look rather "bleak". (PS I hope I am wrong).
Not on the Australian Mainland, but there is permenant snow on Heard Island (which is also Australia's Highest Mountain - no it aint Kozi).

Typically the snowline at Hotham was quoted as around 1400m, and the tree line is about 1650-1700m
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Mr. Mook

One of Us
May 21, 2001
2,904
792
363
57
Macquarie Fields, NSW
Donza said:
Snow Blowey said:
Donza said:
Howabout Hokkaido.?
Sea level.
Yet at the same latitude (realitive) as some of those places you posted.

and right next to a big cold (in winter) landmass.
true that...amazing ain't it..
Landmass extending to above the Arctic Circle is the main reason Northen Hemisphere has lower snowlines, more snow & longer seasons than Southern Hemisphere.
The cold air from the Arctic moves south across the land without being warmed.

The Southern Ocean warms the Antarctic air moving north hence our warmer winters etc.

As for "recognised snowline" Snow Blowey & Ian D are right.
Its an arbitrary line that varies from region to region dependant more on local conditions than any other factor.

Same with the "treeline".

Strangely enuff the opposite occurs in summer, with the ocean keeping the air temparture down. This is why the average treeline in the Australian alpine regions is lower than in equivalent latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere where trees not only grow at higher altitudes, but also to greater sizes
 
Last edited by a moderator:

try hard

Hard Yards
Feb 4, 2001
912
77
98
54
Sydney,Australia
Considering they're calling for snow to possibly 1100m on Wednesday this week and down to 12-1300 on Thursday, where does this lie? Does it mean Thredbo village or are we talking halfway down the Alpine Way ish?? Does anyone know the elevation at Bullocks Flat for example? I've seen it on the side of the terminal, I'm sure, but can't remember it.
 

wangster

A Local
Oct 24, 2008
5,820
301
463
Bullocks is around 1100m, so if the forecast is accurate it'll be white at the 'tube. Bring your chains, or a camera to watch the chaos
 

sixty_eight

One of Us
Feb 18, 2009
3,869
1,126
363
NSW
You gotta love when there is 20cm on the ground all the way from Berridale to Thredbo. And then you realise that Thredbo only got that same 20cm, even up top.
 

captainQ

Hard Yards
Jul 27, 2010
685
0
66
58
Mid North Coast NSW
Some years ago, a long time Jindabyne local told me the Snow Line caravan park was named as such because that's where the snowline was many years ago, before the hydro scheme; and that the local climate has changed (due to the lake?).
Is there any truth to this or is another of those myths that locals cultivate?
 

captainQ

Hard Yards
Jul 27, 2010
685
0
66
58
Mid North Coast NSW
Dr. Wood Duck said:
total crap but you can catch some fairly decent size sharks in the lake
So I hear... but is there a bag limit?
eek.gif
 
Last edited by a moderator:

loweee

One of Us
Apr 21, 2002
2,866
734
363
45
Jindabyne
captainQ said:
Some years ago, a long time Jindabyne local told me the Snow Line caravan park was named as such because that's where the snowline was many years ago, before the hydro scheme; and that the local climate has changed (due to the lake?).
Is there any truth to this or is another of those myths that locals cultivate?

You can get an Idea of the rising snow line from the way everyone used to have to park at Sawpit then Smiggins now Perisher
 
Last edited by a moderator:

captainQ

Hard Yards
Jul 27, 2010
685
0
66
58
Mid North Coast NSW
loweee said:
captainQ said:
Some years ago, a long time Jindabyne local told me the Snow Line caravan park was named as such because that's where the snowline was many years ago, before the hydro scheme; and that the local climate has changed (due to the lake?).
Is there any truth to this or is another of those myths that locals cultivate?

You can get an Idea of the rising snow line from the way everyone used to have to park at Sawpit then Smiggins now Perisher

So does that mean Charlotte Pass might become a car park one day?
confused.gif
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Remove ads with a
Ski Pass

Log in

or Log in using
Remove ads with a
Ski Pass