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In the western U.S. people are wondering:  "Where's the Snow Pack?"

Good question.

Aspen Ski Area hosted no-snow ski race to illustrate climate change --  05/06/2012

ASPEN — Aspen Ski Area hosted a ski race without snow Saturday to highlight the effect climate change has on the outdoor-recreation industry.

"Climate change is already pounding businesses and communities, whether you're a ski resort, an insurance agency or a raft business," said Auden Schendler, Aspen Skiing Co. vice president of sustainability. [...]

Last of the Snow Pack in the Outer Pasture, Mild temperatures over the last four or five days has just about removed the snow pack ... turning it into small lakes and streams at the ranch.
"Last of the Snow Pack in the Outer Pasture, Mild temperatures over the last four or five days has just about removed the snow pack ... turning it into small lakes and streams at the ranch."
-- bionicdaniel, Photobucket, disappearing snow pack

And then just over "the hill" ...

Who believes in climate change? Many studies point that global warming is legitimate

by Don Jarvis, -- April 25 2012

Our annual snowpack is shrinking, according to Robert Gillies, State Climatologist for Utah. After studying mounds of data and compensating for weather cycles, he recently announced that Utah's precipitation ratio has shifted from snow to rain by 9 percent. This fits with the Utah State University Climate Center's finding that over the past 40 years, Utah has warmed twice as fast as the global average. Both have ominous implications for our future economic and population growth.

The National Academy of Science (NAS):  "Climate change is occurring, the Earth is warming … concentrations of carbon dioxide are increasing, and there are very clear fingerprints that link [those effects] to humans."

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA): "Temperature increases and sea level rise are already occurring and, along with other climate changes, are likely to accelerate.

The Department of Defense (DOD):  "Climate change and energy will play significant roles in the future security environment. The department is developing policies and plans to manage the effects of climate change on its operating environment, missions and facilities.

Those are some credible sources.

And they are looking for some credible answers.  As the planet continues to change its ways all around us ... at an accelerating pace ...

hash-tag this:

#ConnectTheDots on Twitter

Connect the dots between climate change and extreme weather.

Today, 5/5/12, people around the world are volunteering, documenting, educating and protesting to support communities on the front lines of climate change.
Looks like it has a live stream of some sort.  (Which looks like it's non-active at the moment.)

Connect the Dots Presentation

Make sure everyone you know is connecting the dots between extreme weather and climate change by giving this presentation in your community.  We’ve assembled a presentation and supporting materials to help you clearly explain how climate change is directly linked to the observed trends and record-breaking examples of extreme weather we’re witnessing around the world.  Download the materials, and sign up a Connect the Dots event in your community today.

 -- Powerpoint preview

"Things Happen" -- Connect the Dots on 5/5/12

link to video --  by 350org
Written by Bill McKibben of Narrated and Illustrated by Stephen Thomson of

"Things Happen" and happen, and keep happening ...

Precipitation Measurement Missions

"Snowpack in the Sierra Nevada mountains." -- 03-05-2003
Source: Wikipedia

According to the California Department of Water Resources, about 65 percent of California’s water supply comes from the Sierra Nevada mountains’ snowpack. Winter rain and snow replenish rivers and groundwater for the year. The amount of snow and when it melts in the spring directly affects how much water is available to cities and to the agricultural industries of the Central Valley. Like all agricultural communities, the Central Valley’s climate, weather and local precipitation all directly impact crop conditions and progress over the growing season. Specifically, the agricultural community needs to know the timing and amount of rain or snow to forecast crop yields as well as any freshwater shortages that might affect irrigation and production. [...]

I remember a day when a deep Snow Pack was a given ... when it was just a part of the cycle of life. When it lasted the entire growing season.

But then something happened ... we happened.  With our fossil fuels and our hurry-up and get-there ways.

The Planet keeps trying to slow us down.  We keep ignoring what she is saying ...

with a shrug and the rationalization that ... "well, things happen."

Stuff always happens ...

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Comment Preferences

  •  Ooops! (0+ / 0-)

    Bill, there are not 20-million people in Queensland, Austrl.
    The entire country is population 22-million.  You've got your
    numbers off and it undercuts your seeming reliability. Correction please.
    jim/santa fe

  •  Sorry about California. (0+ / 0-)

    But some of those other western states put the oil politicians in DC specifically to destroy science-based legislation.

    If Obama doesn't deserve credit for getting Bin Laden because he didn't pull the trigger, Bin Laden doesn't deserve the blame for 9-11 because he didn't fly the planes.

    by Bush Bites on Sun May 06, 2012 at 11:42:43 AM PDT

  •  Drought (4+ / 0-)

    No winter ice pack means a higher probability of summer drought.  

    Aspen has long been worried about the effects of climate change.  They have also been active, as have many other ski areas, in changing their own behavior to mitigate the effects.

    Solar is civil defense. Video of my small scale solar experiments at solarray.

    by gmoke on Sun May 06, 2012 at 11:52:43 AM PDT

    •  Didn't they outlaw new wood burning in new (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      homes 15 or so years ago?

      I was there and the newer places, I heard, were not allowed to have fireplaces.

      202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

      by cany on Sun May 06, 2012 at 01:23:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Possible (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        One of the problems in Aspen has been smog (and traffic) in the valley.  The town started doing sustainability work about two decades ago.

        National Ski Areas Association ( has been on board with stopping climate change for at least a decade.  Their business, after all, is winter.

        Solar is civil defense. Video of my small scale solar experiments at solarray.

        by gmoke on Mon May 07, 2012 at 11:18:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The snow pack (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jamess, Eric Nelson, frankzappatista

    is running nicely down my property line (it's a creek).

    In this section of the east slope of the North Cascades, we have an above average snowpack and late runoff. It was still snowing above 3500 ft last week, and we've had a fair amount of rain below that level. The Public Utility District, which needs snow melt to feed the hydro dams, measures the snowpack every year.

    Some of that, however, is also climate change. We're wetter the last five years than before - I can see it in tree rings when I cut firewood, for example.

    Also, at least around here, winter snowpack has no relation to drought, and a dry winter doesn't mean a big fire season, nor does a wet winter mean no fire season.  Snowpack (or lack of) here doesn't much influence the Pacific Ocean or jet stream.

    And the local ski areas had their earliest openings ever last fall.

    Climate change means climate change - not some particular flavor of climate globally.

    It's never too late to have a happy childhood - Tom Robbins

    by badger on Sun May 06, 2012 at 12:10:06 PM PDT

  •  Here, in so cal pacific ranges, we are getting FAR (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson, jamess, flavor411

    less snow, rain and wind at different times.

    Things ARE definitely changing and they are noticeable now.

    I have lived in the same home for over 25 years and I can positively see it. I can see it in the trees (Quercus agrifolia and CA sycamore) as well.  The acorn/flower times are off. And not by just a little.

    202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

    by cany on Sun May 06, 2012 at 01:26:33 PM PDT

  •  The USGS has been monitoring 3 bench mark.. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jamess, Garrett

    .. glaciers and snowpack and has focused on three benchmark glaciers

     - The Gulkana Glacier:

     Gulkana Glacier, Alaska—Mass Balance, Meteorology, and Water Measurements, 1997–2001 - During 1997–2001, Gulkana Glacier showed a continued and accelerated negative mass balance trend  
    - The Wolverine Glacier

     - And the South Cascade Glacier:

    This link shows aerial photographs of glacial shrinkage over a 50 year period: Fifty-Year Record of Glacier Change Reveals Shifting Climate in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, USA

    Cumulative net balance of South Cascade, Wolverine, and Gulkana Glaciers (Josberger and others, 2007). Densities of snow and ice differ considerably and before glacier-average thickness changes in each material can be summed to the net balance, the changes must be converted to a common basis. By custom, the common basis is "meters water equivalent" (MWEQ), which is the thickness of water that would result from melting a given thickness of snow or ice.
    And this study is years old

    Thx jamess - Will water be the next resource battle?
    It's already begun.  Look at Jon Kyl & John McCains SB 2109 -  Kossack Aji is fighting this ripoff for the Navajo & Hopi people

    Thx jamess - nice connecting the dots, thought I'd add a couple more.

  •  After a slow start... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jamess, antirove the beginning of the water year, the snow pack in the NW Cascade mountains turned out pretty good this year.

    As of May 1, snow pack at NW monitoring stations ranged from 106 percent of normal at Oregon's Timberline Lodge (on Mt. Hood) to 247 percent of normal at Washington's Paradise on Mt. Rainier.

    As a former Nevada resident, I can attest to how grim summer projections are in the areas downstream from the Sierras when winter snows are scarce.

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