Man who lives alone in the woods has recorded 40 years of important data on snow

billy barr
Screen capture Day's Edge Productions

In a ghost town in the one of the coldest places in the US, lone resident Billy Barr has spent 4 decades recording snowfall … to the enormous delight of scientists.

First of all, cue the off-grid fantasy sequence as you meet billy barr – a wonderful man locally known as “the snow guardian.” Barr lives in Gothic, Colorado – a ghost town that has stood empty since the 1920s, save for barr (who, incidentally, spells his name without capitals). It is also one of the coldest spots in The States and gets plenty of snow.

Barr has lived in his cabin in the woods, alone, for 40 years – he has a garden, solar, and he skis to town every few weeks for supplies. He loves Bollywood. He’s articulate and charming; and one of his most persistent occupations has been recording the snowfall, which he has done meticulously two times a day, every day, every winter, for decades. Speaking of his existence – alone in a cabin – barr says “the main thing I interacted with was the weather and the animals, so I started recording things because it was something to do.”

His notebooks, filled with an array of carefully recorded measurements, have provided scientists with a treasure trove of data about weather and climate – the kind of stuff scientists can generally only dream of.

Morgan Heim of Day’s Edge Productions made a 5-minute short film about barr, which was selected by National Geographic’s Short Film Showcase and which we share below. It’s a fascinating glimpse into the life of an equally fascinating man – an accidental climatologist, a guardian of the snow.

Tags: Colorado | Global Climate Change

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