21 years ago, Australia had what is largely considered its worst ski season in recorded history. That year started off with extremely meager snowfall totals that were followed by even more dry weather. Hopefully this year will not follow suit but as of now, things aren’t looking good.
According to 9 News, the snow depth on Spencer’s Creek in New South Wales is a measly 8cm. On the same day last year, the snotel site held approximately 43.7cm of natural snow.
Meteorologists are pointing to a variety of factors that have combined to cause this abnormally dry austral winter– one of which is called “SAM.” The Southern Annular Mode is a meteorological cycle limited to the southern pacific that is currently ‘positive.’
Right now models are uncertain as to whether or not the SAM will remain in a positive state or transition to a negative one by season’s end.
In its positive state, cold fronts often are pulled towards Antartica, causing less cold air to form over the Australian ski areas in NSW and therefore less snow falls on the slopes.
In the meantime, Thredbo and others are making snow around the clock with the one positive being the warm temps have not been accompanied by rain. That weather trend has allowed certain ski areas to blow snow overnight and keep conditions decent despite the lack of natural snowfall.
Snow Depths 6/28/17
Mt Buller: 7cm
Falls Creek: 8cm
Mt Baw Baw: 1cm
Find the entire 9 News article here: Australia’s having its second worst start to the snow season in 21 years