0740 GMT January 23, 2018
A study released in the journal Scientific Reports found that snowfall on the highest peak in the Alaska Range has more than doubled since the start of the Industrial Revolution in the mid-19th century, which researchers attribute to climate change, washingtontimes.com reported.
How? The study linked the heavy snow accumulation to “warmer waters thousands of miles away in the tropical Pacific and Indian oceans,” driven by rising greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Dartmouth College press release.
“We were shocked when we first saw how much snowfall has increased,” said Erich Osterberg, an assistant professor of earth sciences who led the investigation with researchers from Dartmouth, the University of Maine and the University of New Hampshire.
“We had to check and double-check our results to make sure of the findings,” Osterberg said.
“Dramatic increases in temperature and air pollution in modern times have been well established in science, but now we’re also seeing dramatic increases in regional precipitation with climate change.”
The paper, which analyzed “two ice cores collected at 13,000 feet from Mount Hunter in Denali National Park,” demonstrated that the modern snowfall is ‘unprecedented for at least the past 1,200 years and far exceeds normal variability’.
Lead author Dominic Winski, a Dartmouth research assistant, said it was “now glaringly clear from our ice core record that modern snowfall rates in Alaska are much higher than natural rates before the Industrial Revolution.”
“This increase in precipitation is also apparent in weather station data from the past 50 years, but ice cores show the scale of the change well above natural conditions,” Winski said.
Less convinced were climate skeptics, who have long taken issue with the climate change movement for chalking up any number of weather patterns and natural disasters to global warming.
Meteorologist Ryan Maue, chief operations officer at Weather.us, made the point that Alaska presumably would have experienced significant natural variability during that time frame and beyond.
Is the null hypothesis that climate remained static in Alaska since year 1600? The Pacific Ocean surely has variability on decadal/centennial/millennial time scales that would affect mountain snow.