How to measure snow (and buy my book!)

measuring snow

measuring snow

We’ve not had much opportunity of late to measure snow here in Albuquerque, so I had to snag this picture from some time ago.

But it’s that time of year when thoughts of weather nerds turn to the snow in their backyards, which offers me another chance to flog my book, which would be a delightful gift if you’re trying to think of what to buy for that precocious child in your world who wants to learn how to think about weather, climate and science for herself.

One of the things we tried to do with the book was not only explain who paleoclimate, modern climate science and meteorology are done by the grownups, but to show how easy it is to do a lot of this sort of science for yourself, one backyard rain or snow measurement at a time.

Here are the basics for snow: Take a ruler outside. Look for places where the snow has fallen on a flat surface, like a picnic table or the top of your car. Stick the ruler down through the snow, and note the height of the top of the snow on the ruler. Take three measurements and average them.

I have learned in doing this myself over the years that I’m not very good at “eyeballing” it and guessing the depth, a reminder of the usefulness of measuring.

The book is The Tree Rings’ Tale: Understanding Our Changing Climate (Worlds of Wonder), published by the University of New Mexico press.