Non-existence of snow (until it melts)

The higher you move north on The Continent …

The longer it takes the winter-spring high flows to kick in.

That’s because all the water is “freeze dried” in cold storage,

But there is no escaping the spring eventually.

For the “Everglades of the North,” aka the Red River basin, as featured at the U.S. Geological Survey’s flow gauging station in Fargo, North Dakota, the melt kicks in between March and April …

Raising river discharge a good order of magnitude in the process.

That left me wondering if the river’s noticeable amplification of flow over the past two decades (as shown in blue on the graph) has something to do with an earlier melt? What I see from the graph is that timing of the melt remains unchanged over the decades. Additionally, the increase in discharge seems consistent throughout the entire year, and not just associated with any one season.

Meteorologist Daryl Ritchison points to precipitation instead. The yearly total has risen from the 18 inches in the 1970s inches to closer to 23 inches since 1993.

Red River of the south?
Ridge and slough landscape of the Everglades in October 2010

That goes to show how far a little extra precipitation will go …

Or in other words, out into the floodplain.

The Red River valley is as flat as the Everglades you know!

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