Since my post on June 10, Is the United States Getting Warmer… I heard from a reader in California who said she just skied in Tahoe, and she had never seen so much snow on the slopes this late in the year before.
That gave me food for thought, so I began the great “data-dig” for snowpack information. I found this and that, but most of the web sites I found were of the, “We’re-all-doomed-by-global-warming,” ilk. In fact, I found so many of those that it made me feel a little paranoid. Maybe there’s some advantage to making people believe that we’re all doomed because we’re using fossil fuels! Somone is keeping objective reports off the internet! Okay, that sounds absurd, and it is, so I finally snapped out of it. I’m not too big on conspiracy theories.
Then yesterday afternoon I sat watching The Weather Channel (because I’m a total weather junkie), and there was our girl, Jennifer Carfagno, cute thing that she is, expounding on the huge snowpack lingering in the northwest this spring. You know Jennifer, she’s the cute one with the sweet voice.
Well, as she was talking about the snowpack, she said that the area had gotten so much snow because global warming allows for more moisture in the atmosphere, and as it gets warmer, amounts of snowfall actually increase. She giggled — ever so slightly — right after she said that.
Hmmm… well… does that sound right to you? Seems as though all that snow would be falling as rain if it was getting all that much warmer, but then again, what do I know? Maybe it’s just not getting warm enough. It’s still cold enough to snow. I guess we can be thankful for that.
At any rate, later on, I watched NBC Nightly News, and it was almost spooky because they had a segment on the huge snowpack in the northwest as well. Seems that everyone who lives below all that snow on the mountains is in danger of flooding when it all begins to melt. In some places, the amount of snow is a whopping 700 times greater than normal.
Here’s a link for you to NBC Nightly News. I’m including a screen shot of where to go once you’re there. Click on the “Our Planet” link, and today the two clips about the big, big snow pack are right there at the top. I wanted to embed the videos for you, but their code and my browser seem to be incompatible. If you get a chance, do check out those two clips though. Very interesting.
Soon after that, I began poking around, searching for snow data for the winter of 2010-11. Once again, I was met with lots of dire-sounding headings that sounded pretty grim. Here’s one for you: Snowpack Decline in the Rocky Mountains is Catastrophic, and a quote from that same site: A group of investigators in the United States says that the rates at which snowpacks on the Rocky Mountains collapse are higher than any other recorded over the past centuries. The difference can only be attributed to man-made global warming, and the climate change it induces.
Here’s another one from Scientific American: Rapid Decline in Mountain Snowpack Bad News for Western U.S. Rivers. And the subtitle: Snowpack in the northern Rocky Mountains has shrunk at an unprecedented rate over the past 30 years. By Lauren Morello | June 10, 2011 | 8
The problem on both of these web sites is that the date on the articles auto-update, so you can imagine what confusion this can cause. I’d hate to be a kid writing a term paper on climate change right now. You don’t get a clear picture of ust when these things were written. My suspicion is — not lately.
Then I stumbled on a blog with a post titled, “Declining Snow Cover Causes Record Snow Cover.” The title alone gave me a good chuckle, and then when I read the post, I laughed out loud. Be sure to check it out. It’s short and pretty darned funny.
So to sum it up for you, it seems to be getting hotter, so it’s getting colder. (See my post on June 10.) Maybe we all need to “chill,” and cut out all this wild-hair speculation. And yes, I’m aware of retreating glaciers. In fact, I did a study of same while in college. Maybe, just maybe, since it’s getting warmer, as Jen Carfagno said, it’s getting snowier, and just maybe those glaciers won’t retreat quite as quickly as we thought.
I’m going to leave you with a NOAA world map showing snow and ice cover over parts of the northern hemisphere this past winter. Quite a bit of the white stuff, wouldn’t you say? Probably contributed to all the flooding we saw this spring. Snow cover is in blue.
Here’s another one for you from NOAA. If you click on this image, you’ll go to the source where you can animate the image and have fun watching the snow advance and decline over North America. The folks in Canada must have had a really busy snow-shoveling winter.
I’ll leave it up to you. Do you think all that snow makes a good case for global warming or just the opposite? Seems that just about everyone has an opinion on this subject. I’ll be waiting to hear from you.