Vail Daily letter: Something is not right
“Now that spring comes in February here in Colorado … ” were the words my dad uttered last night while looking at the blue jay in my backyard yesterday . A 2007 article in the The American Economic Review stated “ … there is a growing consensus that emissions of greenhouse gases due to human activity will lead to higher temperatures and increased precipitation (in the next few years).” It is now 2016 and it does not take a degree in meteorology to notice that while we have had an uncommonly high 66 days of snowfall in the 2015-16 ski season; the average temperatures are far higher than past ski seasons. While there are many skeptics of climate change, one only needs to look to the mountains to see there are obvious changes occurring.
According to historical snowfall statistics from Vail Mountain, in 2015 a reported 284 inches of snow fell, but the base depth is only 61 inches, 12 inches lower than the average. Vail has reported temperatures in the high 50s (degrees Fahrenheit) in both February and March, showing rare highs compared to the mid-to-low 40s that are commonly seen in those months. This shows an obvious warming of the climate in Vail that can be linked to the rest of the world, where countries such as the Netherlands are seeing extreme lows and others, such as Russia, are seeing extreme highs. The snow that has fallen this year tended to melt shortly after it fell due to the spikes in temperature that would occur within days of the storms passing. March 21 brought 6 inches of fresh powder to Vail Mountain and the snow continued to fall over the course of the following week, but by the next Monday temperatures were rising into the high 40s and snow was melting. If weather trends continue in the path they are headed due to climate change, winters may lose their snow all together.
There are skeptics all across the world, that contemplate whether or not climate change is occurring, but if they were to just spend a winter in Vail they would see that something is not right. The allure of the mountains in the winter is not to ski down a run avoiding rocks and stick as one would gates in a downhill course, yet that is what one should look forward to when visiting Vail in upcoming years due to climate change.
Student at Vail Ski and Snowboard Academy