Feb 2014 flashback: ‘The end of snow?’

Feb 2014 flashback: ‘The end of snow?’

[Ed. – Bonus from the archives.]

The planet has warmed 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit since the 1800s, and as a result, snow is melting. In the last 47 years, a million square miles of spring snow cover has disappeared from the Northern Hemisphere. Europe has lost half of its Alpine glacial ice since the 1850s, and if climate change is not reined in, two-thirds of European ski resorts will be likely to close by 2100.

The same could happen in the United States, where in the Northeast, more than half of the 103 ski resorts may no longer be viable in 30 years because of warmer winters. As far for the Western part of the country, it will lose an estimated 25 to 100 percent of its snowpack by 2100 if greenhouse gas emissions are not curtailed — reducing the snowpack in Park City, Utah, to zero and relegating skiing to the top quarter of Ajax Mountain in Aspen. …

Greening the ski industry is commendable, but it isn’t nearly enough. Nothing besides a national policy shift on how we create and consume energy will keep our mountains white in the winter — and slow global warming to a safe level.

This is no longer a scientific debate. It is scientific fact. The greatest fear of most climate scientists is continued complacency that leads to a series of natural climatic feedbacks — like the melting of the methane-rich permafrost of Arctic Canada.

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