Monday 17 July 2017

Natural Snow Depths

How much snow can I expect?
Recently I wrote up another description for an upcoming VCC trip and I was wondering how much snow can be expected. Since this is an existential question for all back country adventurers, I gathered some data and put it into the two graphs below. 

  • The green line shows you how much snow you can expect on average.
  • The blue and orange lines are the max and min extremes - there is quite a wide range!
  • And the red line shows you the percentage of bone dry seasons on that day.
The Buller graph gives you an idea for The Bluff, Westridge and the Howitt area while the Hotham graph is obviously for Bogong and Feathertop. E.g. my chance of running on grass around The Bluff on the 23rd September is 25% while if I'm lucky enough to find snow it might be around the 30cm mark.

You're welcome 😁

P.S.: Also keep in mind climate change is real and happening which means the red line goes up and the green line goes down. I know. It's sucks.

Mt Buller Natural Snow Depths 1993 - 2016

Mt Hotham Natural Snow Depths 1993 - 2016

Data sourced from
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International 
[Open Data]


  1. Just thinking... Why did you choose the 1993 to 2016 year range ?
    As climate change is producing warmer winters in oz maybe data older than , say 15 years ago , shows a set of snow depth nos. that we will not likely experience again . Thus the 1993 to 2011 data are thus skewing the graphs - What does the 2001 to 2016 graph look like , very different ?

    1. That's the data which was available however I also looked and the graphs of only the last ten years and they're similar especially in regards of average snow depth and dry season percentage.
      The Australian winter climate is heavily influenced by the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO), Southern Annular Mode (SAM) and the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD). If things fall in line - a neutral ENSO, negative SAM and negative IOD - we can still have bomber seasons. Unfortunately SAM and IOD are currently positive which basically means a cold and dry winter.