It’s spring in Southwest Wisconsin. A peculiar sound caught my ear as I cruised a property I am writing a Managed Forest Law plan for. It was the sound of moving water, but the sound was not throughout the whole dry wash I was walking near. I walked over to investigate, and it was a surge of melt water filling the wash at slower than walking speed. I always assumed that they filled gradually as the temperature warmed, but here it is filling rapidly. I’ve never seen this phenomenon before.
The east/west oriented dry washes ran later than the north/south oriented dry washes, and I have a theory why. With the warmth and sunshine, the south facing slopes that would have otherwise filled the east/west dry washes were already bare of snow, and the north facing slopes were protected from the sun and melting very slowly. The north/south dry washes were being fed by slopes that faced east and west and still had snow on them and were getting sun.
Here’s a picture of a wild strawberry that was starting to grow on a south facing slope on March 10, 2015. Wild strawberries can be evergreen. I never knew that. The large leaves in the corner of the picture are from last year, and the new leaves are just starting to emerge.
Do you notice a pattern in the next picture?
The snow is melting faster around the base of the tree trunks than between the trees. The trunks absorb heat from the sun and that heat melts the snow near the trees.