Alaska + Warmer weather = More snow?

by harshm on April 4, 2018 - 10:51pm

Warmer weather in South-central Alaska has been increasing the intensity of snowfall annually. In fact, data reveals that the quantity of snowfall has risen for more than 117% for the last 150 years in winter and increased by 49% during summer. On top of that, the state is among the ones experiencing the most of climate changes, having their average temperature increased by 2-3 degrees in the last half-century. Indeed, warmer weather gives us warmer air, which can contain more moisture than cold air. So, a mass of air with a surplus of water (moisture) in the still frigid atmosphere of Alaska will obviously leads to heavier snowfalls. To explain the history of Alaska’s bizarre snow activities, researchers conducted an experiment in which they would extract ice cores out of Alaska’s Mount Hunter and analyze the bubbles in it to obtain data on snow of the past. These ice cores unveiled that since the mid 19th century, snowfall had now doubled in that mountainous regions of Alaska. Also, it was reported that they could observe a distinctive spike in snowfall quantity in our recent time compared to the past millennia. Finally, the article argues that this moist air had been created by evaporation, caused by warmer weather in Alaska, but possibly by the arrival of moist air coming from the Pacific and Indian Ocean too. It’s a highly probable theory since the water there has been getting the same evaporation treatment, leading to moist atmosphere above water. At first, scientists were skeptical that these were the reasons of the increase in snowstorm. But as they observed how other parts of the world were dealing with this problem, they realized that these were the most plausible causes. As many researches show, increase in temperature across the world has been creating unique kinds of phenomenon that entirely depend on the location, such as in the Pacific and Indian Ocean having higher sea levels and decrease in rains in Hawaii.

I think that the fact that climate change can cause more snow to fall is amazing. When we think about what proof we have of climate changes, we always look for elements about warmer temperature, but in this case, the proof is related to cold temperature. To me, this shows that there are evidences of climate change that might be in front of us but that we just can’t get our fingers on, for some reason.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/climate-change-has-doubled-snowfall-in-alaska/

 

 

Comments

Hi,
I think that the article you summarized is very interesting and addresses the issue of climate change in a way that we are not used to. I like that it suggests another effect of climate change that we are not used to see. I agree with you when you said that evidences of climate change are right in front of us, but, for some reasons, we do not see it. But don’t we chose to close our eyes on global issues like this? I found an article proving that not all people choose to ignore the problem. The Naza did mission to study the effect of climate change in North Pole. They record information and data for more than 10 years, to prove people that climate change is, in facts, a real issue that we need to be worried about.

Steinberg, A. (July 27, 17). Where global warming gets real: inside Nasa’s mission to the north pole. The Guardian. Retrieved from: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jul/27/watching-ice-melt-in...

I chose to answer to this summary because I was intrigued by the title and I wanted to know how this phenomenon happens. We always explain that climate change causes thing that are always related to warmer temperature, and what warmer temperatures lead to. However, in this case, climate change causes more snow and snow is the opposite of warmer temperature. The explanation given in the article makes a lot of sense and it is easy to understand, but our first thought on a phenomenon that causes more snow is rarely related to climate change. I agree with your claim in the last sentence of your summary that climate change could cause things that we would never think could come from this environmental problem.

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