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A new paper from two Dartmouth researchers looked at snowpack records in March over the 1981–2020 period in 169 major Northern Hemisphere river basins and found a disturbing trend:

We show a generalizable and highly nonlinear temperature sensitivity of snowpack, in which snow becomes marginally more sensitive to one degree Celsius of warming as climatological winter temperatures exceed minus eight degrees Celsius (17 degrees Fahrenheit). Such nonlinearity explains the lack of widespread snow loss so far and augurs much sharper declines and water security risks in the most populous basins.

In other words, you don’t see average snowfall declining bit by bit as winters warm, bit by bit. Snowfall amounts and distribution stay pretty much the same for a while but then – whamo! – falls off a cliff.

The paper was published in nature (here).

The Atlantic has an article about the research titled “The Threshold At Which Snow Starts Irreversibly Disappearing“.

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