Snowfall samples from snowstorms lasting 1 to 4 days were collected near the Bear Lake snow telemetry (SnoTel) site in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado (ROMO), during the 1998-99 snowfall season to determine if storms moving in from different directions affect the chemistry of precipitation in the park. Storm pathways to Bear Lake during snowfall events were estimated using the HYSPLIT4 backward-trajectory model developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Deposition of acidic ions of nitrate and sulfate in snowfall during the study varied substantially (two- to threefold) depending on storm trajectory because air masses traversing the park originated from different surrounding areas, including some having large sources of emissions of nitrate and sulfate. Concentrations of nitrate and sulfate in samples were lowest when storms reached ROMO from north and east of the park and were elevated when air masses traveled from the west where a number of power plants are located. Concentrations were highest in storms reaching ROMO from the south, a region with urban areas including Metropolitan Denver.
Additional Publication Details
Effect of storm trajectories on snowfall chemistry in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado