A new study projected that the Southern Californian Mountains are in danger of snowfall decline by 2050 due to global warming.
The research funded by the U.S Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation was conducted by a team from the department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences in UCLA led by professor Alex Hall. The team used regional simulations using two climate change scenarios to analyze the impacts of the rising temperature caused by greenhouse gases emissions. The scenarios were labeled ‘business as usual’ and ‘mitigation’.
The business as usual scenario is a simulation of factories continuing their average emissions of greenhouse gases within the century while the mitigation scenario did an increasing pace for 20 years then did a decline to limit the temperature. The mitigation aims to present the difference if the government do something about the emissions.
The research team used the average snowfall of the Tehachapi, San Emigdio, San Gabriel, San Bernardino and San Jacinto mountains from 1981 to 2000 as basis for measurement. They found out that an average of about 40 inches of snowfall can cover these mountains monthly.
After the analysis, the simulations revealed that the amount of snowfall in the mountains could drop up to 40 percent by 2050. If the gas emissions continue, the drop may reach over 66 percent by 2100. This means the average snowfall will be reduced to 33 inches monthly. The changes will be more evident between San Gabriels and Tehachapi.
Aside from this becoming an environmental concern, the government will need to worry about the livelihood of those working on the ski areas. If the greenhouse gas emissions continue, it will be impossible to use the place as a ski area due to insufficient snow. Flood control will need to be planned too as people will expect rain instead of snow in the near future.
Chris Steinkamp, executive director of Protect Our Winters, was alarmed with the results of the study.
“We can’t stay as business-as-usual. That’s the worst case scenario,” Steinkamp said in L.A Times. “What we really hope is that this report is used as a tool to effect climate policy changes.”