Snotel Site SWE Comparisons

Post Falls High School students,

Below are some historic SWE analyses completed by the Lake City High School IB Environmental Science Class for the Lookout Pass Snotel Site. See the map below for Snotel site locations within the Coeur d’Alene Watershed.

Snotel MapLook through the charts below, and compare the data from the Lookout Snotel Station to what you found in the Quartz Peak Snotel station data.

In the comment section below, respond to the following three questions. Your response for each question should be at least three sentences.

  1. How do the trends found  on Lookout Pass compare to the trends that you found at the Quartz Peak Snotel site? Use evidence from your data.
  2. Which data set is more valid for making inferences about long term trends, Lookout or Quartz Peak? Why?
  3. Based on the data, and what you learned from Kat about winter ecology, discuss one example of how the trends you observed in the datasets may influence genetic diversity within the Coeur d’Alene basin.


Lookout Pass Snotel Site Information:


Data Source: USDA NRCS Snow Survey: Lookout Snotel Site


Analyzed by Lake City High School IB Environmental Science students





We noticed a decreased in the amount of SWE for 1950 to 2012.

These trends affect the fresh water resource use in our community by making the citizens more aware of their water usage.

The possible cause of this trend could be increasing temperatures in June resulting in increased evaporation rates


14 thoughts on “Snotel Site SWE Comparisons

  1. 1. The data from the Lookout Pass was immensely different during the time period of 1995-1999 than the rest of the years, while the Quartz Peak was very close in SWE.
    2. Lookout because the data goes all the way back to 1981, while Quartz Peak only goes back to 1988.
    3. The more snow pack there is, the more water there will be in the basin.

  2. 1. The results are very similar. The data we collected was very similar to the Lookout Pass data.
    2. Lookout is more accurate. There is a larger set of data.
    3. The steady decline in SWE at Lookout Pass could cause the amount of water in the watershed to decrease. It could also decrease the amount of water that runs into the basin. It could stop fish and other creatures from elvolving. THat could create genetic diversity.

  3. 1. In the quartz peak data most of the years the snow fall decreases dramatically in April. The snow fall also decreases a lot on Lookout
    2. Lookout because the data goes back many more years compared to quartz peak.
    3. As the water mainly starts to run off in April and May the plants along creeks and rivers may become more sturdy because of the sudden runoff of water.

  4. 1. The trend at Quartz peak shows a trend going upward and Lookout goes downward.

    2. Lookout’s data is more accurate because the time period that data was collected is much longer than that of Quartz Peak.

    3. If the trends of Lookout continue with a decrease in Snowpack, then possible mutations and adaptations could occur in order to remain alive. This would cause more genetic diversity amongst ecosystems.

  5. 1 qaurtz peak is similar to lookout in the way of we are both losing small amounts of snow over the years and snow is and has been melting later in the years also. as well as that if water levels gety to high or to low there will be a shift in vegetation which can cause a shift in fish populations. this will overall cause major catastrophe for man kind.
    2 lookout is because it is on a steady decline.
    3 this kinda ties in to what i had said in one oops

  6. 1. Lookout Pass is a lot more thorough, and had bigger snow differences.
    2. Lookout. The data went back farther than Quartz Peak, so the data would be more accurate.
    3. If our water is lessening, then we may have to shortage the amount of water we use. Water makes up everything around us and if we have less, then it will fall apart.

  7. 1. Both Quartz Peak and Lookout pass steadily built their snowpack levels until the beginning of April, where they quickly dropped their numbers in SWE.
    2. Quartz Peak’s data may be more accurate because it was published by the USDA’s NRCS which uses peer editing to verify results and other data.
    3. The sets of data showed a gradual pattern of rising SWE averages and then a sharp drop. Perhaps this would reflect on genetic diversity because animal traits would become more prevalent during certain seasons of water quantity. One decade may have many animals who are more able to survive very cold winters whereas the next decade would feature animals that can survive during less snowy(less cover and blending in for example).

  8. 1. More snow was at Lookout, but both receive most snow in March and April, and both show a decrease in snow.
    2. Lookout, since there was more data.
    3. With less water, animals may have to adapt. Those that don’t adapt may migrate, and those that do neither will die. Animals that depend highly on water, such as fish, will eventually die out in that area if the snow keeps decreasing.

  9. 1. Lookout had more snow, but they both get most of their snow consistently through March and April. We’ve also seen somewhat of a decrease in the amount of snow we receive.
    2. Lookout would be more accurate because it has more data.
    3. With less water, a fish depending on deep water would have to adjust. This could cause a genetic mutation and more genetic diversity.

  10. 1) The data is similar due to the recorded sites being near each other geographically, but there is slightly more snow in Lookout pass. The lookout pass data is easier to read and shows that snow levels are slowly decreasing through the years.
    2) The Lookout data is easier to gather inferences from because of the many different types of graphs that have individual data points and averaged lines.
    3) With less snowfall, the amounts of snow in the mountains may vary, having a shorter snowy season, which could cause some species to adapt to their changing environments. Also, less snowmelt from the mountains cause lower lake levels, which can affect oxygen levels as well as the size and health of the aquatic life.

  11. 1. Lookout pass and the Quartz Peak sites have very different data. The Lookout graph’s line of best fit goes gradually decreases. However, the Quartz Peak graph’s line of best fit gradually increases.

    2. If you were looking for a more general set of data, it would be better to look at Quartz Peaks’s data, because it is a long span of time all on one graph. However, if you are looking for a more accurate representation, the Lookout data would be better, because there is much more data, it is more thorough, and it would be easier to look at certain points in time with the multiple graphs. If you wanted to find if there was a spike in a certain point in time, it would be easy to see when because the time periods are spread out in different graphs.

    3. The genetic diversity could occur if there was a low snowpack, because animals would either die, adapt or migrate to the different amount of snow.

  12. 1. Lookout had more consisitent data, but we are both losing a little bit of snow each year.
    2. Lookout, because there was more data over time.
    3. Every living organism would have to adjust greatly if the water decrease gets to be too intense. Water is important to everything on earth.

  13. 1) The data has shown that there is more snow at lookout pass. lookout is slowly decreasing in the most recent years.
    2)Lookout data is easier to read and would be more accurate.
    3)The less water there is fish that depend on that; they have to adjust. MAybe causing genetic mutations or diversity.

  14. 1. The trends I saw between the two data sets both show a decrease in snow starting at April.
    2. Look out is better for making long term inferences because there is more data for Look out.
    3. Genetic diversity may appear because of the snowpack decreasing. This is because animals and plants may have to learn how to live with less water they will learn to adapt and change their genetics

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