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Mountain Issue: Climate Change on the Slopes

A visible sign of the effects of climate change can be seen on the snow-less mountains of California, where many ski areas have been unable to operate this season. With the loss of snowpack in California, local winter sports resorts have been making the news, from Mt. Waterman in Southern California to Lake Tahoe in Northern California.

In a recent segment of KCET’s “SoCal Connected,” UCLA climate scientist Neil Berg discussed the role of climate change. "It's within the realm of reason that temperatures that could be rising rapidly and high enough where we just don't have winters with snowfall events anymore. It's a scary and unfortunate possibility," he said. Berg’s department at UCLA, the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, released a 2012 climate study, Mid- and End-of-Century Snowfall in the Los Angeles Region, which focused on the mountains in Southern California. This report predicts that by mid-century, mountains in the Los Angeles region will lose 42% of their annual snowfall if greenhouse gas emissions continue on the current trajectory. However, the report also finds that immediate and substantial efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions could limit the mid-century loss of snowpack in Southern California to about 31%. Similarly, Cal-Adapt’s Snowpack: Decadal Averages tool also demonstrates that significant, sustained, and immediate reductions of greenhouse gas emissions (portrayed by a low emissions scenario) can help preserve California’s snowpack.

Post last edited on: 2015 March 02

Tags: climate change news, snow pack

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