SOURCE: Washington Post
DATE: December 19, 2017
SNIP: A team of scientists presented surprising data on Tuesday suggesting that even as the state of Alaska has warmed up extremely rapidly in recent years, snowfall in the iconic Denali National Park has increased dramatically during the era of human-driven global warming.
The researchers from Dartmouth College, the University of Maine at Orono and the University of New Hampshire set up a camp at 13,000 feet atop Mount Hunter, within view of Denali, previously known as Mount McKinley, the highest peak in the United States. There, they drilled into the snow to extract lengthy cores of ice that provided a historical record of snowfall patterns going back more than 1,000 years — and found a marked change over the past 150 years or so.
“We were shocked, frankly, at just how much snowfall had increased,” said Erich Osterberg, a Dartmouth researcher who was one of the study’s authors.
The ice cores showed an enormous upswing in the rates of snowfall beginning around the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century, when humans began burning fossil fuels to produce energy in large quantities. The increase over time represented more than a doubling in the amount of snow.
“We can say confidently that the amount of snowfall we see today has never been seen previously during that whole 1,200-year record,” Osterberg said. “That we are way outside the range of what was natural conditions before the Industrial Revolution.”
Climate change increases the volume of precipitation, because a warmer atmosphere holds more water vapor. But it isn’t supposed to increase it this much.