UCLA climate study predicts dramatic loss in local snowfall

Jun 14, 2013

By midcentury, snowfall on Los Angeles–area mountains will be 30 to 40 percent less than it was at the end of the 20th century, according to a UCLA study released today and led by UCLA climate expert Alex Hall.

The projected loss, a result of , could get even worse by the end of the 21st century, depending on how the world reacts. Sustained action to reduce global could keep annual average snowfall levels steady after mid-century, but if emissions continue unabated, the study predicts that snowfall in Southern California mountains will be two-thirds less by the year 2100 than it was in the years leading up to 2000.

"Climate change has become inevitable, and we're going to lose a substantial amount of snow by midcentury," said Hall, a professor in UCLA's Department of Atmospheric and and UCLA's Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. "But our choices matter. By the end of the century, there will be stark differences in how much snowfall remains, depending on whether we begin to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions."

"This science is clear and compelling: Los Angeles must begin today to prepare for climate change," said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. "We invested in this study and created the AdaptLA framework to craft innovative solutions and preserve our quality of life for the next generation of Angelenos."

Less snowfall in general and a complete loss of snow at some lower elevations doesn't just have implications for snow enthusiasts who enjoy skiing and sledding in the local mountains; it also could mean sizeable for snow-dependent businesses and communities. Less snow could also mean changes in the of local water resources, greater difficulty controlling floods, and damage to mountain and .

The impact to actual snow on the ground may be even greater because the researchers quantified snowfall but not snow melt, said Hall, whose previous research found the region will warm 4 to 5 degrees by midcentury. By then, researchers estimate, the snowpack could melt an average of 16 days sooner than it did in 2000. "We won't reach the 32-degree threshold for snow as often, so a greater percentage of precipitation will fall as rain instead of snow, particularly at lower elevations," Hall said. "Increased flooding is possible from the more frequent rains, and springtime runoff from melting snowpack will happen sooner."

"As a California resident, I spend my winters snowboarding in mountains throughout our amazing state," said Jeremy Jones, founder of Protect Our Winters, an environmental nonprofit composed of winter sports enthusiasts. "It breaks my heart to see America's great natural resources harmed by climate change. We must, immediately, begin to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. There is no choice."

The UCLA study, "Mid- and End-of-Century Snowfall in the Los Angeles Region," is the most detailed research yet examining how climate change will affect snowfall in the Southern California mountains. The report was produced by UCLA with funding from the city of Los Angeles, and in partnership with the Los Angeles Regional Collaborative for Climate Action and Sustainability at UCLA's Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. The complete report, maps and graphics are available online at C-CHANGE.LA/snowfall, including a password-protected media site.

The study examined snowfall in the San Gabriel Mountains, San Bernardino Mountains, San Emigdio/Tehachapi Mountains and San Jacinto Mountains. The research team scaled down low-resolution global climate models to create high-resolution models with data specific to towns such as Lake Arrowhead, Big Bear, Wrightwood and Idyllwild. Hall's team included UCLA researchers Fengpeng Sun and Scott Capps, graduate student Daniel Walton and research associate Katharine Davis Reich.

The researchers used baseline amounts from 1981 to 2000 and predicted snow amounts for midcentury (2041 to 2060) and the end of the century (2081 to 2100) under a "business as usual" scenario, in which emissions increase unchecked, and a "mitigation" scenario, in which the world significantly reduces emissions. By the end of the century, the contrast between the scenarios would be dramatic. In the mitigation scenario, midcentury snow levels would be 31 percent lower than baseline, but would remain relatively steady at only 33 percent below baseline by the end of the century.

In the business-as-usual scenario, 42 percent of the snow is expected to disappear by mid-century before dwindling dramatically to a 67 percent loss of snow by the end of the century.

"The won't receive nearly as much snow as they used to, and the snow they do get will not last as long," Hall said.

Explore further: Hurricane churns towards Bermuda, to impact US

More information: The complete study, "Mid- and End-of-Century Snowfall in the Los Angeles Region," along with interactive maps and ways to get involved, is available online at www.C-CHANGE.LA.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Climate contradiction: Less snow, more blizzards

Feb 18, 2013

(AP)—With scant snowfall and barren ski slopes in parts of the U.S. Midwest and Northeast the past couple of years, some scientists have pointed to global warming as the culprit.

Snow could offset global warming in Antarctica

Jul 10, 2012

Increased snowfall in Antarctica could offset the future impact of global warming on the continent, according to research carried out by a French team comprising researchers from the Laboratoire de Glaciologie ...

End of Winter: How 2012 snow stacks up

Mar 14, 2012

The mild winter of 2012 has many people asking, "Where's the snow?" These two snow cover maps show the difference between snow extent on March 3, 2011, and March 5, 2012. The maps were compiled from data collected ...

Recommended for you

User comments : 14

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

VENDItardE
1.7 / 5 (17) Jun 14, 2013
riggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhttt.....
Neinsense99
3.5 / 5 (16) Jun 14, 2013
riggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhttt.....

Very far riggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhttt...... but we knew that from the pattern of your repetitive, content-challenged, vapid posts.
antigoracle
1.7 / 5 (17) Jun 15, 2013
The research team scaled down low-resolution global climate models...

The doom and gloom prophesy of a desperate AGW Alarmist cult.
Well, when the actual data proves otherwise, how else can they keep their blind and dumb followers in check.
deepsand
3.4 / 5 (17) Jun 15, 2013
AO is like an insane woodpecker looking for a grub in a block of concrete.
antigoracle
1.6 / 5 (14) Jun 16, 2013
AO is like an insane woodpecker looking for a grub in a block of concrete.

An AGW Alarmist turd with an obsession for wood/pecker.
ubavontuba
1.7 / 5 (17) Jun 16, 2013
UCLA climate study predicts dramatic loss in local snowfall
What a bunch of crap. As per the NOAA, precipitation in Los Angeles has been trending upward since 1944, and temperatures have been trending downward since 1975.

Let's see, so these clowns think MORE precipitation at LOWER temperatures will lead to less snow? How does that work?

antigoracle
1.5 / 5 (16) Jun 16, 2013
"As a California resident, I spend my winters snowboarding in mountains throughout our amazing state," said Jeremy Jones, founder of Protect Our Winters, an environmental nonprofit composed of winter sports enthusiasts.

I presume they WALK to and up those slopes.
Just a bunch of hypocrites feeding of the AGW cash cow.
deepsand
3.1 / 5 (17) Jun 16, 2013
"As a California resident, I spend my winters snowboarding in mountains throughout our amazing state," said Jeremy Jones, founder of Protect Our Winters, an environmental nonprofit composed of winter sports enthusiasts.

I presume they WALK to and up those slopes.
Just a bunch of hypocrites feeding of the AGW cash cow.

You lack the humour to be entertaining, the knowledge to be informative, and have all the charm and attraction of a deceased rat which suffered from leprosy and incontinence.
antigoracle
1.3 / 5 (13) Jun 17, 2013
"As a California resident, I spend my winters snowboarding in mountains throughout our amazing state," said Jeremy Jones, founder of Protect Our Winters, an environmental nonprofit composed of winter sports enthusiasts.

I presume they WALK to and up those slopes.
Just a bunch of hypocrites feeding of the AGW cash cow.

You lack the humour to be entertaining, the knowledge to be informative, and have all the charm and attraction of a deceased rat which suffered from leprosy and incontinence.

You have the repetition and predictability of an AGW Alarmist Turd, bobbing up and down in your cesspool of ignorance.
deepsand
3.3 / 5 (15) Jun 18, 2013
"As a California resident, I spend my winters snowboarding in mountains throughout our amazing state," said Jeremy Jones, founder of Protect Our Winters, an environmental nonprofit composed of winter sports enthusiasts.

I presume they WALK to and up those slopes.
Just a bunch of hypocrites feeding of the AGW cash cow.

You lack the humour to be entertaining, the knowledge to be informative, and have all the charm and attraction of a deceased rat which suffered from leprosy and incontinence.

You have the repetition and predictability of an AGW Alarmist Turd, bobbing up and down in your cesspool of ignorance.

You are as predictable as infant who is capable only of crying, sleeping, drinking, urinating and defecating.
Howhot
4 / 5 (9) Jun 20, 2013
Good old predictable @anti (the most bousommest of men, all hail), says
You have the repetition and predictability of an AGW Alarmist Turd, bobbing up and down in your cesspool of ignorance.
Those are mighty big words coming from your mother's basement. I bet you don't even know what AGW stands for, much less be able to spell it.

You daddy must have turn you over the wrong direction and spanked your brain. You deniers are all so lame, you make a three legged lama look like a break-dancer on a Friday evening out on Soul-Train.

Bottom line deniers, we AGWers are spot on, and you deniers are not.

antigoracle
1 / 5 (11) Jun 20, 2013
Good old predictable @anti (the most bousommest of men, all hail), says
You have the repetition and predictability of an AGW Alarmist Turd, bobbing up and down in your cesspool of ignorance.
Those are mighty big words coming from your mother's basement. I bet you don't even know what AGW stands for, much less be able to spell it.

You daddy must have turn you over the wrong direction and spanked your brain. You deniers are all so lame, you make a three legged lama look like a break-dancer on a Friday evening out on Soul-Train.

Bottom line deniers, we AGWers are spot on, and you deniers are not.

- HowhotTurd
If I had a dog with your stupid face, I would shave its arse and train it to walk backwards.
Howhot
4.3 / 5 (7) Jun 20, 2013
the Anti (who was ejected from the tea party for pretending to be Alice) says of his dog;
I would shave its arse and train it to walk backwards
You is weird. You must really like your dog's arse a lot! Is it that pretty?
deepsand
3 / 5 (12) Jun 21, 2013
Good old predictable @anti (the most bousommest of men, all hail), says
You have the repetition and predictability of an AGW Alarmist Turd, bobbing up and down in your cesspool of ignorance.
Those are mighty big words coming from your mother's basement. I bet you don't even know what AGW stands for, much less be able to spell it.

You daddy must have turn you over the wrong direction and spanked your brain. You deniers are all so lame, you make a three legged lama look like a break-dancer on a Friday evening out on Soul-Train.

Bottom line deniers, we AGWers are spot on, and you deniers are not.
- HowhotTurd
If I had a dog with your stupid face, I would shave its arse and train it to walk backwards

If you had a dog I'd shoot it to put it out of its misery.