UCLA is releasing today the first-ever detailed study of the effects of climate change on local snowfall, examining both business-as-usual and mitigation emission scenarios. Snow loss is predicted to be very significant both in the mid-term (2041-2060) and by the end of the century. The image above shows the study’s projections for reduced end-of-century snowfall under a business-as-usual emission scenario. Details on the study are available at the C-ChangeLA website, a great portal designed by Climate Resolve to disseminate this work to the public.
This is the latest in a groundbreaking series of papers by UCLA’s Dr. Alex Hall, who has been funded in part by the City of LA to create downscaled climate models predicting impacts to LA at a neighborhood scale. His work on temperatures in LA was reviewed by Sean here and showed (among other things) that some LA communities will see triple the number of extreme heat days by the end of the century. Notably, Dr. Hall’s snowfall study here doesn’t account for increased snowmelt from higher temps, so these results understate impacts to total snowpack.
It’s easy to think that snow is great for skiers and sledders but not so meaningful for everyone else. Our snowpack, however, provides an important source of surface water, especially in drier months. The good news from this study is that mitigation makes a difference. Cutting greenhouse gases significantly curbs snowfall loss by the end of the century: