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June 22,2016 In Snow

The Waiting Game…


Since taking this role I have been exposed to more acronyms than any sane person should be. Which got me to thinking…do all languages use them? Answer: Yes (Wikipedia says so!). If so, what is the world’s longest acronym? (Where is he going with this? Is what I’m sure you’re now thinking…)

According to the Guinness Book of Records, it is a 56 letter acronym (54 letters in the Cyrillic Russian tongue in which it is recorded), relating to the Academy of Building and Architecture in Moscow.

Anyway back to my point. So, having delved into acronyms head on, when a report from the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) came across my desk laden with terms referring to the El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) and the Southern Annular Mode (SAM), interspersed with correlation coefficients, t-tests, confidence intervals and R2 references, I felt suitably armed to tackle the report.

Long story short…”The influences of climate drivers on the Australian snow season” is great bed time reading if you’re an insomniac…or like to read this sort of thing. I’m in the middle on both scales, but wanted to understand the influences of these acronyms on the outlook for the 2016 season.

Apparently, according to this report, both above average seasonal precipitation and below average temperatures are necessary prerequisites for heavy snow season…Yep! What’s more, this statement is supported by graphs and figures, therefore despite its obviousness, must be true.

Furthermore, from what I could ascertain, the most important factor is the IOD, as it seems to be the major contributor to the most significant snow years, with 58% of negative IOD years recording at least 200cm of snow.

So jumping from the report, to the BOM site, I needed to know the outlook for the IOD. And, according to the latest report (June 7th) from the BOM and its ENSO Wrap-up states “the Model outlook suggests a negative IOD event may form during the austral winter”…giddy up.

At the expense of getting too excited, I dove straight back into the report, only to be gobsmacked by the statement “despite these observed relationships, no combination of indices is a guarantee of a good or bad snow season”…WELL, that was 2 hours of my life I now can’t get back. But, dear reader, I’ve saved you from the same fate!

Nonetheless, the report does end on an even more positive note in relation to snow making. It suggests that the influences on natural snow are different to those for snow making, so in short, don’t worry!

As we all know, Falls Creek is blessed with an abundance of south facing slopes, one of the most, if not largest areas by hectares covered by snow making technology, a 28,000 mega litre water source (the envy of every Victorian resort) and a record of having the highest precipitation in the state. Sum these up and we are in great shape for snow this season.

The waiting game is over. As my fingers hit the keyboard, it’s snowing at 1546m and the forecast is suggesting its game on for the rest of the week.

See you on the slopes.