Alaskan snow more than doubles due to global warming: Study

2017-12-19 13:09


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Paris - Snowfall in central Alaska has more than doubled since the mid 1800s, said a study on Tuesday which pointed the finger at global warming.

Two ice cores drilled into Mount Hunter in the Denali National Park, revealed a 117% increase in wintertime snowfall in south-central Alaska since about 1840, researchers wrote in the journal Scientific Reports.

Summer snow also increased, by nearly 50%.

"We were shocked when we first saw how much snowfall has increased," said Erich Osterberg of Darmouth College, who co-authored the study.

"We had to check and double-check our results to make sure of the findings."

Next, the team set out to find out why.


Scientific models predict that global precipitation – rain or snow – would increase by as much as 2% per degree of global warming. Warmer air holds more moisture.

This accounted for some, but not most, of the Denali snowfall increase, the team said.

They found another contributor: The strengthening of a low-pressure system called the Aleutian Low in the Bering Sea off the Alaskan coast, driven by warmer tropical oceans.

The Aleutian Low brings a northward flow of warm, moist air to Alaska.

"It is now glaringly clear from our ice core record that modern snowfall rates in Alaska are much higher than natural rates before the Industrial Revolution," study co-author Dominic Winski of Dartmouth College said in a statement.

This is when humankind started pumping planet-warming greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

The same changes accounted for a decrease in Hawaiian precipitation, the paper pointed out.

And it stressed the Alaskan impact would not necessarily be repeated in other places with similar conditions.

"Scientists keep discovering that on a regional basis, climate change is full of surprises," said Osterberg.

The world's nations vowed in the 2015 Paris Agreement to limit global warming to under 2°C over pre-industrial levels.

Anything more, experts warn, will give rise to life- and asset-threatening superstorms, sea-level rise, floods and drought.

The 1°C mark has already been breached.

Read more on:    us  |  global warming

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Key Accounts - IT

Southern Shore Recruitment
R15 000.00 - R25 000.00 Per Month

Audit Senior / Bookkeeper to Trial Balance

Cape Town Southern Suburbs
Placement Point (Pty) Ltd
R15 000.00 - R21 000.00 Per Month

Sales Representative- Knysna

George - Knysna
George Employment Consultants
R15 000.00 Per Month Per Month

Property [change area]

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.