November 21, 2022 - Snowfall at the Grand Canyon


Winter comes early to the Colorado Plateau, with snow often falling—and sticking around—by late November. In 2022, an early storm passing by on November 2-3 brought light snow to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and the Colorado Plateau, but that brush of white quickly melted. On November 9, a second storm front dropped a layer of white on the high elevations from the North Rim, in Arizona, and northward into Utah.

When the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite passed over the region and acquired a true-color image on November 17, the snow remained visibly intact, despite nearly a week of sunshine.

The bottom of the Grand Canyon sits more than 5,000 feet lower than the edge of the snow-laden North Rim, but no snow is seen. As the elevation drops in the Canyon, temperatures rise. Any precipitation from the November 9 storm would have fallen over the Grand Canyon as rain.

Image Facts
Satellite: Aqua
Date Acquired: 11/17/2022
Resolutions: 1km (179.1 KB), 500m (484 KB), 250m (339 KB)
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC