Adding Rocky Valley Dam (Falls Creek)


With the Snowy Hydro snow depth records (from New South Wales, Australia), the other high-quality Australian snow depth record is the one now kept by AGL Hydro at Rocky Valley Dam near Falls Creek in Victoria. This is actually Australia’s longest snow depth record¹, with data extending back to 1935 (with gaps) and possibly earlier. Unfortunately the data from the 1930s and 40s was recorded on a different basis and on a somewhat longer measurement course compared to the modern record. Earlier measurements were made after each snowfall; later measurements were made regularly twice per month (weekly from 1997). Homogenisation of these records might be possible (I’m thinking about it), but for now I just exclude the pre-1950s data and plot the regularly sampled depths taken from 1954 onwards.

The season peak depth series (plotted above) shows similar overall characteristics to the higher-altitude Spencers Creek record from near Charlotte Pass, 100 km away in NSW (midway between Perisher Valley and Thredbo). Despite what some have said, the downtrends are very similar, especially if considered proportionally.



Note that there is a strong west-east winter precipitation gradient across the mountain plateau near Falls Creek (from the rain shadow effect).  The Rocky Valley Dam measuring course is well to the east, so it’s likely that it shows rather shallower natural snow depths than may occur at similar elevations in the vicinity of the Falls Creek resort.



1. There may be earlier data from the Mt Hotham resort, but availability and quality are uncertain — 1927 is reported to have been their record depth year. If you know how to get it please contact me.

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