Scotland – ‘Astonishing’ amount of snow on Ben Nevis

Five stories deep!

9 Aug 2016 – It is not unusual for snow to remain on Ben Nevis all year long.

However, snow expert Iain Cameron has described the snow depth on the mountain’s North Face as “astonishing” … more than 15 meters (49 feet) deep in places.

Compared to a building, that’s five stories deep!

Thanks to Jay Hope for this link

13 thoughts on “Scotland – ‘Astonishing’ amount of snow on Ben Nevis”

  1. Yes but this would be true with or without global warming or an ice age…

    I know you know about natural variation, I actually don’t believe in global warming and I agree there is sufficient reason to expect a possible mini iceage.

    So I am not just saying this out of a bias, I believe we are likely going to be getting colder in the NH.

    However, I still like quality facts and data, simply saying that over the space of one year or two that Scotland has more snow than it did the year before is meaningless, especially when we understand natural variation, the weather is a system of multiple different oscillations which means it is natural to have warm years and cold years.

    If this information was reporting a long term trend I would accept it is a valid bit of evidence in support of colder conditions. Like I said, I do believe it is coming and there is already evidence of colder conditions, hence the hiatus.

    But this doesn’t mean it is OK to throw about propaganda low quality information as even more evidence, this is effectively either propaganda of confirmation bias. Either way, a year or two of more snow than previous years is not evidence of an over all shift, weather in other words, not climate.

    While I do think this is part of a trend, thinking and beliefs do not equal definitive evidence towards cooling.

    • A fair comment but if you search this site you will find that Mr. Felix has been posting on stubborn long lasting snow in Scotland for many years.

    • Yes there are all sorts of things to consider here. BUTabout 4 years ago researchers noticed that some of the ice on the north side of Ben Nevis is of a type that is pre glacial – in other words of a type that forms before true glaciation takes place.

      It looks as though the NH is starting to cool perhaps?

    • “Yes but this would be true with or without global warming or an ice age…”

      Hmm. That is not what has been said by the global warming advocates. They were predicting 20 or more years ago that snow would completely disappear in the northern hemisphere. Obviously, snow hasn’t disappeared on Ben Nevis as well as many other places. If their predictions have been wrong, does that mean that their theory is wrong? My answer is “yes.”

  2. Then, you have to consider, as I said the wind direction and the shape of the land, as a snow lover, I love to run and hike for many many hours in the snow, always have done, you know if it is snowing in the UK, my kit is pre-packed and as soon as it comes I am up into the hills.

    What I learnt over the years is where to find the deep snow, well I learnt that all mountains are different, their unique shape means they can have parts that are out of the suns path and live in a lot more shade day in day out, and if they are in the path of the regular winds, then the wind riding up the mountain will dump deep drifts and then because that spot rarely sees the sun, it lasts for ages, I am sure the report said the north face of Ben Nevis. Well many north faces of peaks around here are position in the shade and being higher than their surroundings they get pummelled by the bitter north winds in winter that drives temps down more on that side of the mountain than on others, I can imagine, like on many of the peaks in my part of the UK, that when the snow and cold north winds come, the north faces get battered by the wind, are colder than other areas and the snow likes to drift and freeze solid in these areas, freezes so much you can’t walk through deep snow you need crampons and don’t sink because the wind and cold have compacted them and frozen them solid and these patches last a lot longer than all other snow on the mountains.

    So, I stand by my point, that our expert has not said anything about colder than usual conditions, he has not said the snow is a sign of anything, it is just as fair of me, based off the available evidence to say that this snow patch is a result of El nino delivering more snowfall and the wind direction at the time, if the wind direction was different then this patch wouldn’t have had the build up and drift and without the el nino neither would it have had the same quantities and like I said based off the evidence you have provided this conclusion is just as fair as you assuming its liked to MIA. In fact I think my assessment is more detailed and logical than simply linking it to MIA but thats just my opinion.

    But to day either way with any matter of fact statements is either confirmation bias or a lie = propaganda.

    • Actually, the number of snow patches surviving this year is radically less than those which survived last year in 2015. The 2015 snow patch survival rate was due to the unprecedented snowfall of winter 2014/15, when it snowed every day for about 100 days from mid December to late March.

      This patch on Ben Nevis did survive the 2015 summer and so can start to build as a ‘semi-permanent’ snow/ice patch.

      Surviving snow-patches are a function of many things, most notably:
      1. Extent of snow patch survival from the previous summer.
      2. Extent of snowfall from December to May.
      3. Lack of torrential rain at summit level through the winter washing away recently fallen snow.
      4. Effective freeze-thaw cycles turning the fallen snow into neve.
      5. A cool dry summer in the mountains favouring the retention of snow patches throughout summer and autumn.
      6. A reasonably early first snowfall the next winter, thus preserving any snow patches which survived.

  3. Iain Cameron is an amazing guy. We both have a love for snow but Iain is a real devotee. Well worth following on twitter for his observations and photographs of seasonal snowfall.

  4. Due to this article, I searched the BBC link online and came across this statement, “The climate of the last millennia was at its most severe between 1650 and 1790.” So I can well imagine a glacier presence in the Scottish highlands during that period. Also mentioned in the article – “Arctic ice expanded further south and there are stories of Inuit (or Eskimo) people arriving on Orkney between 1690 and 1728. One was said to have paddled down the river Don in Aberdeen” So I can certainly imagine the climate in that period of time being conducive to lots of ice snow and even a GLACIER IN SCOTLAND.

  5. I’m not sure you read the article properly, Jon. The scientists came across hazards common in arctic and alpine conditions, which they said were ‘very unusual in the UK’. They also mentioned the fact that there was ‘neve’. Neve is the first stage in the formation of glaciers. What happens when glaciers begin to form?? Does it get hotter? Don’t think so. Does it get colder? Perhaps that’s a question that you are afraid to answer. No propaganda on this site. If you want propaganda, keep tuning into what the AGW brigade are preaching.

    • The neve forms every winter as every Scottish hill walker and ice climber knows. This is nothing special, nor is it unusual. Every gully in Scotland has neve in it come late April due to repeated Freeze-Thaw of the snowpack through the winter and spring.

      The only question is whether the neve which forms every spring survives through the summer. I can tell you with absolute authority that the only way snow will survive through a Scottish summer is in the form of neve. Nothing else will last beyond the end of May, let alone September………

      • But they say that the amount of snow is very unusual for this time of year. And, as someone else has commented, we were told that snow would become a thing of the past. Is this global warming snow? 🙂

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