It may have been foggy at Paradise, but snow to be seen!
There is, of course, importance in this date because of concerns about global warming. With warming temperatures you would expect less snow and an earlier melt-out date. A number of media stories have talked about global warming causing mountain snows to melt out early. So at a long-observed location, what is actually happening?
For the entire 98-year record, the average snow melt-out date is July11th at Paradise. So the snow stuck around for NINE DAYS more than the long-term average.
Mark Albright, a research meteorologist at the UW, has produced a nice table summarizing melt-out date by decade. The earliest melt-out dates were in the 1930s and 1940s, followed by the 1960s,
What about a nearby station to the south, Mt. Hood, at 5400 ft? The snow melt date there was July 2nd, which makes sense since Hood is over 100 miles to the south of Rainier. Mark Nelson, chief meteorologist at channel-12 in Portland, did an analysis of the snow-melt dates at Mt. Hood (found here). Take a look at the graph that he produced. The melt out was within a day of the average for the last 33 years (July3). And it does look like the melt-out date is generally getting later at Mount Hood.
The bottom line of all this analysis (and much more that I am not showing you), is that the snow at mid to upper elevations in the Cascades is not melting out earlier during the past few decades. As I noted many times in this blog, the Northwest is a favored location when it comes to global warming, with the eastern Pacific showing little warming during the past few decades. The eastern Pacific determines the nature of the air masses approaching our mountains and thus we can't expect an earlier melt of the snowpack.
Eventually, the eastern Pacific will warm, but its slow change will buy us (and our snow pack) time here in the Northwest.
Global Warming, the Media, and Coal Trains
I will be giving a talk in Friday Harbor and Eastsound, sponsored by the San Juan Island and Orcas Is. libraries.
I will be discussing the serious threat of global warming, how the media is generally doing a poor job in educating about this issue, and how mankind is really not taking it seriously (e.g., the coal trains).
Friday Harbor: July 22nd, 6:30 PM, The Mullis Community Center, 589 Nash St.
Orcas Island: July 23rd, 5:30 PM, Orcas Center