When it comes to measuring snow and precipitation, Donner Summit offers the gold standard in California. The measuring year begins on October 1 and ends September 30, with statistics going back into the 19th century. Thankfully, someone decided early, that it might be important to keep track!
Located at Donner Pass in the Sierra Nevada, the Central Sierra Snow Laboratory (CSSL) is a research field station of the University of California, Berkeley specializing in snow physics, snow hydrology, meteorology, climatology, and instrument design. Built in 1946 by the (then) U.S. Weather Bureau and Army Corps of Engineers, it is administered by UC Berkeley's California Biodiversity Center.
CSSL has a close to complete and consistent record of precipitation, snowfall, snow depth, and air temperature for the periods of 1946-1952 and 1957 to the present. The Lab also has long-term data sets on wind speed and direction, solar radiation, snow temperature, relative humidity, and soil moisture. In addition, precipitation and air temperature records from other locations on Donner Summit are available.
Our thanks to staff member Randall Osterhuber, for sending along the updated chart for our readers. It becomes a tradition creating excitement for the new snow, upcoming holidays and another wondrous ski season in the Sierra.