Thursday, October 4, 2018

Crater remains snowy

Ablation of 2018 snow continues, as evidenced by the 1 October image above. Nonetheless, extensive snowcover remains within Kibo crater as the extended dry season concludes (Sentinel-2 bands 4,3,2). The mountain's south side also remains snowy, making it difficult to easily distinguish between glaciers and snow on the image.

Trails up to the crater and along the rim to Uhuru Peak appear to be free of snow. However, where snowcover remains, penitentes are likely getting steadily larger.

On the Northern Icefield, telemetry of AWS measurements reveals a surface height increase of ~30 cm for the one-year period Oct. 2017 to Oct. 2018. This accumulation was concentrated in three intervals: the first half of January, the first week of March, and a week in mid-April. In contrast, ablation was especially pronounced through the entire month of February this year. 

Whether 2018 accumulation endures will depend upon October and November weather, which typically varies considerably from year to year. Since mid-May, when peak accumulation occurred, the rate of surface lowering due to ablation has been rather constant at ~12 cm/month.

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