University of Washington atmospheric scientist Lynn McMurdie has led campaigns to measure rain and snowfall in places ranging from Washington’s Olympic Peninsula to Argentina to the Eastern U.S. Now she’s among the leaders of a field campaign in Colorado to better understand and forecast snowfall in the mountains of the Western U.S.

UW atmospheric scientist Lynn McMurdie. Mark Stone/University of Washington

A scientific expedition this coming winter in Colorado’s Yampa Valley will improve forecasts of snowfall and estimates of how climate change will impact snowpack and water availability in mountainous regions of the West.

McMurdie, a research professor of atmospheric sciences at the UW, is one of the principal investigators on the effort, funded with a $4.8 million grant from the National Science Foundation and led by the University of Michigan. Other participating institutions include the University of Wisconsin, the University of Utah, Colorado State University and Stony Brook University.

The team will deploy instruments in the Steamboat Springs region of Colorado’s Park Range, a section of the Rockies that extends from southern Wyoming to northwestern Colorado and is poorly covered by the National Weather Service radar network.

Angela Rowe, an affiliate UW faculty member and former UW postdoctoral researcher who is now a faculty member at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is another of the project’s lead investigators. Peter Blossey, research associate professor of atmospheric sciences at the UW, a UW postdoctoral researcher and one or more UW graduate students will also participate in the campaign.

The first instruments will arrive at Mt. Werner this summer, and the team will begin collecting measurements in December.

Read more at UW News »