Environmentalists have been trying to draw publics attention to the problems associated with the climate change for decades. Nonetheless, people used to turn their backs on this problem as they kept saying that scientists were exaggerating. Now lots of people can literally feel the changes which have been taking place.
One of the most conspicuous illustrations of the climate change is the amount of snowpack in the world, and in every part of the globe. According to a variety of surveys and researches, snowpack is steadily declining due to a number of reasons.
Importantly, even those, who claim that some estimates are erroneous and somewhat exaggerated, admit that the problem exists and it needs to be addressed. Thus, snowpack is steadily declining and this has a number of effects as it negatively affects such businesses as ski resorts and, what is more, it has a negative impact on farming as water supplies are decreasing.
A hundred years ago, people could hardly predict that their descendants would lack for snow. In the twenty-first century, it is an alarming reality. For instance, the USA has been witnessing a dramatic change in snowpack throughout the last 50 years (see Fig. 1). Thus, Oerlemans claims that glaciers have retreated significantly since the beginning of the twentieth century (Worldwide Glacier Retreat n.p.).
It is possible to take a closer look at a particular example. A glacier on Mt. Baker, which is in Washington D.C., can be such an example as the increase of temperatures of only 1C results ~2 km retreat of the glacier terminus (Worldwide Glacier Retreat n.p.). Another estimate is also quite alarming.
According to research conducted by an , the average snowpack in the Cascades has declined 50 percent since 1950 and will be cut in half again in 30 years (Has Pacific Northwest Snowpack Declined? n.p.).
Notably, the estimate has raised a lot of questions as it focused on a specific (and quite limited) territory and only a few variables were taken into account. However, researchers agree that the trend does exist and it is vital to start addressing the problem.
N. American Summer Snowpack (1967-2011)
Fig. 1. N. American Summer Snowpack (1967-2011)
. also note that the extreme snowfalls have been changed as become a norm for many US states (6215). The researchers note that the estimate is rather rough and the data obtained can be regarded as statistically insignificant (Kunkel et al. 6215).
Nevertheless, the research reflects certain trends which exist in the USA as well as in other parts of the globe. Therefore, it is important to start addressing the problems associated with the decrease of amount of snowpack.
Possible Causes for the Snowpack Decline
Admittedly, many people keep saying that global warming (or rather the level of carbon dioxide) is the major reason of the snowpack decline. However, the problem is more complex and there are many factors contributing to the decrease of snow.
Of course, increased global temperature is one of the major reasons of the change in the amount of the snowpack. Clearly, temperatures have increased since the beginning of the twentieth century (see Fig. 2).
National (Contiguous U.S.) Temperature
Fig. 2. National (Contiguous U.S.) Temperature
It is necessary to note that the increased level of carbon dioxide has a significant impact on the snowpack as the rise of temperatures leads to snow melting. The temperatures have increased considerably since the middle of the twentieth century and it is impossible to ignore the increase in carbon dioxide emissions (see Fig. 3). The correlation between the global warming and the level of carbon dioxide is obvious.
Global Average Temperature and
Fig. 3. Global Average Temperature and Carbon Dioxide Levels
It is necessary to note that the change had started long before the 1950s as such periods as the Industrial Revolution and especially the beginning of the twentieth century were characterized by the increased levels of carbon dioxide emissions. Though, it is also necessary to note that increase in CO2 emission has never stopped and started rocketing in the 1960s (see Fig. 4).
Many argue that the increase of the level of carbon dioxide is not caused by human activities but is rather a consequence of certain global processes. However, many researchers claim that though the amount of carbon dioxide emission produced by people is not crucial, deforestation has contributed to the aggravation of the problem (Le Quere n.p.).
Admittedly, there are some global processes that lead to carbon dioxide emissions, but forests are global tools to diminish the negative effects of this increase. Peoples activities have led to considerable decrease of forests, which, in its turn, has contributed to the increase in the level of carbon dioxide on the global scale.
Global Temperature and Carbon Dioxide
Fig. 4. Global Temperature and Carbon Dioxide
It is also necessary to note that the decrease of snowpack is also caused by some natural processes. For instance, researchers note that in the Middle Ages there was the so-called Medieval warm period which was characterized by warm temperatures (Worldwide Glacier Retreat n.p.).
Therefore, a variety of possible causes for the change should be taken into account. However, it is also clear that it is no time to hesitate as people are now experiencing negative effects of the decrease of the amount of snowpack.
At present, people feel the lack of snow. Such businesses as tourism and business offering some leisure activities are vulnerable to the change of the snowpack (Callaghan et al. 38). Thus, people who run ski resorts have losses due to the lack of snow. Researchers and business people agree that it is crucial to be able to analyze the existing trends and try to foresee the amount of snowpack in future.
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Clearly, if there is no snow, people will not go to the ski resorts, which will lead to bankruptcy of many ski resorts. However, the lack of snow has even more serious implications as it can lead to shortage of drinking water.
This is already a problem in the USA and many other countries; it can become a serious issue in all parts of the world. The lack of water will also negatively affect farming and people will be unable to produce enough food.