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Science

Northeast American Winters Warming

2046430808_d4e2c37fbc As mentioned elsewhere (I think) I’m an aspiring author; that’s why I write professionally, so that I have money to write my own stuff. 2006 saw me write and complete my first and currently unpublished novel, set in New England. Why did I set it in New England, a place I’d never been? Because the place captivates me, with its picturesque images of autumn leaves tumbling down a street, or the white Christmases.

But my dream of living in such a place may be melting beneath my proverbial feet, according to the latest research.

Elizabeth Burakowski, for her master’s thesis at the University of New Hampshire’s Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans and Space, has shed light on what appears to be a constantly warming Northeast of America (primarily my beloved New England).

Her study consisted of data from weather stations from across the Northeast from 1965 through 2005, and found that December-March temperatures increased by 2.5 degrees. In addition, snowfall totals dropped by an average of 8.8 inches across the region during the same period, and the number of days that contained at least an inch of snow on the ground decreased by an average of nine days.

“Winter is warming greater than any other season,” said Burakowski, who graduated from UNH in December.

Burakowski found that the biggest decreases in snowfall were in December and February, and that stations in New England showed the strongest decreases in winter snowfall, with an average drop of 3 inches a decade.

In fact there were a lot of decreases in snow fall that, according to the author, can be tied back to “snow-albedo feedback;” a trait which sees less snow cover allowing more sunshine in, thus warming the ground, and subsequently making it harder for the ground to receive a decent snow cover. Disparate snowfall in the eight-state region saw average totals ranging from 13.5 inches at Cape May, N.J., to 137.6 inches at Oswego, N.Y, and snow stations on the Great Lakes showing an increase. The reduction in days that at least an inch of snow was on the ground was found to be most pronounced between degrees of latitude 42 and 44.

All in all, snow is just having a hard time in my beloved, yet unvisited, Northeast America.

This research is yet to make it to a peered review journal, which is not totally surprising considering its author, however many meteorologists who have studied such long-term climate trends, believe that Burakowski’s observations are pretty much on track.

 

AP via PhysOrg – Study: Northeast Winters Warming Fast

Photo Courtesy of Glass_House via Flickr




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