Declining spring snowcover will impact plants and animals use deep snow cover as a refuge from winter cold
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Beneath winter’s deep snows there is a secret world of frozen insects and amphibians in quasi-hibernation, where small mammals scoot about eating bugs and fungi. It’s an ecoogical world that’s mostly invisible but functions as a critical part of larger ecosystems. The subnivium, as scientists have dubbed it, is now at risk from global warming.
SUMMIT COUNTY — Large parts of the northern hemisphere could see a 20 to 30 percent increase in extreme precipitation events by the end of the century. Extra moisture due to a warmer atmosphere dominates all other factors, leading to notable increases in the most intense precipitation rates, according to a new NOAA-led study.
The study shows a 20-30 percent expected increase in the maximum precipitation possible over large portions of the Northern Hemisphere by the end of the 21st century if greenhouse gases continue to rise at a high emissions rate.
‘To expect that rainfall patterns would stay the same is very naïve’
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — A growing temperature disparity between the southern and northern hemispheres could have significant long-term effects on tropical rainfall patterns, potentially shifting monsoons in some areas, or leading to drought in other regions.
SUMMIT COUNTY — With all the hoopla of Christmas, it’s easy to forget that the winter solstice was marked by deeply spiritual ceremonies long before the emergence of Christian traditions. But if you take a moment today to contemplate the sun hanging at it’s lowest and most southerly point in the sky, it’s a little easier to understand why ancient people took the trouble to erect massive stone monuments to observe the day.
Try and see the world from the perspective of a Stone Age hunter in a time when the universe was infinitesimally more mysterious than it is today. Now, we understand orbital cycles. Notwithstanding the end-of-the-world hype, we can be fairly certain that the days will soon start getting longer again. We can keep warm in our homes, and fend off the dark with electric lights.
But there must have been a time when the long, dark nights at the start of winter were frightening, with no real assurance that spring would arrive once more. Gradually, through observation, even the ancient ones figured it out, and the fact that the cycle of shortening days was at an end became reason for celebration. Continue reading “Winter Solstice 2012: The world definitely is not ending”→
SUMMIT COUNTY — The global temperature in June, averaged from thousands of weather stations, was the fourth-warmest on record for the planet, at 1.13 degrees above the 20th century average, according to the monthly update from the National Climatic Data Center.
Land-surface temperatures measured alone set an all-time record for the month, with the northern hemisphere at 2.34 degrees above average and globally at 1.93 degrees above average. June was the second consecutive month with record global land surface temperatures. The last time June temperatures were below average was in 1976.
In the Northern Hemisphere, it was the third month in a row with record-setting heat over land, with most areas seeing temperatures running well above average. Only northern and western Europe, and the northwestern United States were cooler than average. Continue reading “June 2012 global temps the 4th-warmest ever”→
‘Arctic wildcard stacking the deck in favor of more severe winter outbreaks‘
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Evidence continues to mount that melting Arctic ice is having a significant effect in the mid-latitudes, where most people live, and it’s not something that’s going to take decades to develop.
Decline of reflective snow cover likely to speed overall warming
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Heat-trapping greenhouse gases aren’t the only reason the spring snow cover across the northern hemisphere has been declining steeply the past few decades.
By tweaking a sophisticated set of climate models, researchers found that black carbon and dust — both generated by human activities — are at least part of the reason that spring snow cover in Eurasia is declining faster than across North America.