LA to lose its snow-capped mountains?

Anyone who’s spent time in Southern California might be forgiven for taking the climate for granted: surfing in the summer and snowboarding in the winter. Gorgeous natural scenery all year long.

That might not last forever. In fact a UCLA study released this week says that the city could lose a vast majority of its snow by the end of the century as a result of global warming:

This stuff isn’t just affecting the icebergs, apparently. A UCLA spokeswoman told LA Weekly: “LA’s mountains will lose a third of their snow by midcentury, and if greenhouse emissions aren’t reduced, they’ll lose another third by centuries’ end. This doesn’t just mean less skiing, but also has implications for local water resources, flooding, damage to mountain and river ecosystems, and economic challenges for snow-dependent vacation towns.”

image from wikipedia

The LA skyline is not generally remembered for having snowcapped mountains

“As a California resident, I spend my winters snowboarding in mountains throughout our amazing state. It breaks my heart to see America’s great natural resources harmed by climate change. We must, immediately, begin to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. There is no choice,” said Jeremy Jones, founder of Protect Our Winters.

UCLA experts say if this happens we’ll not only face a declining resort economy, but also see more flooding and increased complications for our local water resources.

The greenhouse-gas-related warming means the local snowpack would melt 16 days sooner and that some snow wouldn’t fall at all, researchers say.

image from UCLA/LA Weekly

Alex Hall of UCLA’s Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences said: “We won’t reach the 32-degree threshold for snow as often, so a greater percentage of precipitation will fall as rain instead of snow, particularly at lower elevations, Increased flooding is possible from the more frequent rains, and springtime runoff from melting snowpack will happen sooner.”

“Los Angeles must begin today to prepare for climate change,” Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said in response to this study.

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[via LA Weekly]

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