- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Climate change has been blamed for causing higher temperatures, drought, wildfires and hurricanes — and now it’s being credited with generating record snow.

A study released Tuesday in the journal Scientific Reports found that snowfall on the highest peak in the Alaska Range has more than doubled since the start of the Industrial Revolution in the mid-19th century, which researchers attribute to climate change.

How? The study linked the heavy snow accumulation to “warmer waters thousands of miles away in the tropical Pacific and Indian oceans,” driven by rising greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Dartmouth College press release.

“We were shocked when we first saw how much snowfall has increased,” said Erich Osterberg, an assistant professor of earth sciences who led the investigation with researchers from Dartmouth, the University of Maine and the University of New Hampshire.

“We had to check and double-check our results to make sure of the findings,” Mr. Osterberg said. “Dramatic increases in temperature and air pollution in modern times have been well established in science, but now we’re also seeing dramatic increases in regional precipitation with climate change.”

The paper, which analyzed “two ice cores collected at 13,000 feet from Mount Hunter in Denali National Park,” demonstrated that the modern snowfall is “unprecedented for at least the past 1,200 years and far exceeds normal variability.”

Lead author Dominic Winski, a Dartmouth research assistant, said it was “now glaringly clear from our ice core record that modern snowfall rates in Alaska are much higher than natural rates before the Industrial Revolution.”

“This increase in precipitation is also apparent in weather station data from the past 50 years, but ice cores show the scale of the change well above natural conditions,” Mr. Winski said.

Less convinced were climate skeptics, who have long taken issue with the climate change movement for chalking up any number of weather patterns and natural disasters to global warming.

Meteorologist Ryan Maue, chief operations officer at Weather.us, made the point that Alaska presumably would have experienced significant natural variability during that time frame and beyond.

Is the null hypothesis that climate remained static in Alaska since year 1600? The Pacific Ocean surely has variability on decadal/centennial/millennial time scales that would affect mountain snow. pic.twitter.com/1PrrQJrV1q

— Ryan Maue | weather.us (@RyanMaue) December 19, 2017

“Is the null hypothesis that climate remained static in Alaska since year 1600?” he said on Twitter. “The Pacific Ocean surely has variability on decadal/centennial/millennial time scales that would affect mountain snow.”

The “global warming causes heavy snow” thesis isn’t new. During a 2011 cold snap, former Vice President Al Gore said that “scientists have been warning for at least two decades that global warming could make snowstorms more severe” by sending more moisture into the air.

Others have claimed the opposite. In 2000, University of East Anglia senior research scientist David Viner concluded that winter snowfalls would become “a very rare and exciting event,” thanks to global warming.

Quipped Climate Depot’s Marc Morano, “Why not? Less snow used to ‘prove’ global warming. Snow used to be ‘a thing of the past’ according to climate activists. Now more snow ‘proves’ global warming. No matter the weather, they can claim it is consistent with global warming theory.”

“Man-made global warming has become unfalsifiable,” said Mr. Morano, author of “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Climate Change,” slated for release Feb. 26 by Regnery.

The latest study, “Industrial-Age Doubling of Snow Accumulation in the Alaska Range Linked to Tropical Ocean Warming,” found that winter snowfall has risen by 117 percent in south-central Alaska and that summer snows increased by 49 percent in less than 200 years.

The paper cited scientific models predicting increases in global precipitation per degree of warming of as much as 2 percent but concluded that such an explanation still didn’t explain the heavy Denali snow.

“The research suggests that warming tropical oceans have caused a strengthening of the Aleutian Low pressure system with its northward flow of warm, moist air, driving most of the snowfall increases,” said the release. “Previous research has linked the warming tropical ocean temperatures to higher greenhouse gas concentrations.”

Mr. Osterberg said scientists continue to discover that “climate change is full of surprises.”

“We need to understand these changes better to help communities prepare for what will come with even more carbon dioxide pollution in the air,” he said.

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