It’s been nearly two years since The New York Times published an article claiming the “end of snow” was nigh because of man-made global warming.
“Europe has lost half of its Alpine glacial ice since the 1850s, and if climate change is not reined in, two-thirds of European ski resorts will be likely to close by 2100,” Peter Fox, the editor of Powder magazine, wrote in an op-ed in February 2014.
“The same could happen in the United States, where in the Northeast, more than half of the 103 ski resorts may no longer be viable in 30 years because of warmer winters,” Fox wrote.
An Oregon State University hydroclimatologist echoed the same sentiment to NPR recently, telling the news outlet to enjoy snow now “because there’s a whole lot less of it,” especially in the Western U.S., due to warming.
“You don’t have to be a skier to feel nostalgia for those whitewashed days — or to see the writing on the wall,” Fox wrote in his New York Times op-ed.
Fox isn’t the first to warn about the demise of snow. Scientists and activists have been predicting for the last 16 years that snowfall would rapidly decline and virtually disappear as the Earth warmed due to man-made carbon dioxide emissions being put into the atmosphere.
In 2000, climate scientist David Viner with the University of East Anglia told reporters, “Children just aren’t going to know what snow is.” Viner argued global warming would make snowfall “a very rare and exciting event”.
Fast-forward 14 years, and the U.K. was hit with its wettest winter on record. The British isles were pelted with rain and snowfall despite the fact government climate experts were predicting a dry winter.
Viner echoed the claim in 2004, this time backed by Adam Watson with the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology. Viner told The Guardian it’s “it’s just getting too hot for the Scottish ski industry … it is hard to see a long-term future,” adding “the industry has no more than 20 years left.”
Now, the U.K. is bracing for another bout of rain as Winter Storm Jonas makes its way across the Atlantic. This comes after starting off the winter with -10 degree Celsius weather and three inches of snowfall across much of the country — only the Scottish highlands really get a lot snowfall so this was a big deal.
Americans haven’t seen the “end of snow” either. Americans on the Eastern Seaboard are still recovering from Winter Storm Jonas which left 30 people dead and left millions more covered in up to two feet of snow.
The winter season of 2013 to 2014 was one of the coldest in 20 years, according to a meteorologist with AccuWeather. Many parts of the Midwest and East saw way more snow than usual. Philadelphia, for example, saw 314 percent of its average yearly snowfall that winter.
“Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio, were both hit with more than a 220 percent of their average annual snowfall” and Detroit saw “230 percent of [its] average annual snowfall,” Accuweather reported.
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