Something that I have noticed over the last several years is a disconnect between the season-to-date snowfall and the snow depth for Fairbanks. Reader Eric also commented in the previous blog post about the normal snow depth and the below normal snowfall. The chart below shows the snow depth surplus/deficit and the season-to-date snowfall surplus/deficit in inches (y-axis). Including this winter, 5 of the last 6 winters show a paradoxical inverse correlation between snowfall and snow depth. This is somewhat puzzling. Is the snow "fluffier"; i.e., more dendrites? Is there less wind to compact the snow? Unfortunately there are no snow water equivalent measurements after 2001.
Note: the normal snow depth value is from the 1981-2010 NCDC climate normal database. The value used is the daily 50th percentile. When there is less than a 50% chance that the 50th percentile snow depth exists (a coincidence) the normal snow depth is listed as 0". That's why it goes from 8" on May 2nd to 0" on May 3rd. Only days where a published normal snow depth were used in this analysis (9/26 to 5/2 each year).