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Those with altitude melt

Brett Dutschke, Thursday August 14, 2014 - 14:20 EST

Places high in altitude are a fair bit warmer than normal compared to those lower down, leading to some snow melt.

After some of the best June and July snowfalls in decades, the Australian snowfields are warming up, causing the snow on the ground to partially melt.

Early this afternoon it had warmed up to six degrees at Falls Creek and Mount Buller, five degrees at Mt Hotham and four degrees at the top of Thredbo. This is four-to-five degrees above their August average maximum temperatures.

Nearby and close to sea level, including Rutherglen, temperatures today have risen only one-to-two degrees above average.

A temperature inversion (relatively warm air lying on top of relatively cool air) has developed above a high pressure system, which has been leading to relatively warm nights on the top of the mountains compared to lower down. Last night it got as cold as minus six degrees on the Top of Thredbo (1957 metres above sea level), yet it got as cold as minus eight degrees in the nearby town of Cooma (778 metres above sea level).

The next few nights and days look similar until the high is replaced by a low pressure trough, which will bring cloud and rain.

Unfortunately for the snowfields, the relatively warm days then the rain, will lead to further melt, causing the snow cover to become more compact and slushier.

On the bright side, the system bringing the rain will then bring some snow, once it moves to the east, making up for some of the melt.

- Weatherzone

© Weatherzone 2014

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