Climate change warms Mount Washington. This is how it affects NH

Environment

The average temperature at the top of the mountain has increased over the past century.

Snow covers Mount Washington, Wednesday, November 13, 2013 as seen from Bartlett, New Hampshire. AP Photo/Jim Cole, File

Mount Washington is renowned as the highest peak in the northeast at nearly 6,300 feet.

But a new study from the Appalachian Mountain Club shows that you can’t avoid the warming effects of climate change even as high as that.

This climate change can harm nearby businesses.

One of the reasons this study is so important is because it is the first time scientists have been able to definitively prove that the pattern of temperature increases is due to climate change.

“This is not just a coincidence, but it may fluctuate from year to year,” said Brian Fitzgerald, director of science and education at the Mount Washington Observatory. WBUR. “There’s something going on, there’s a trend.”

The study used weather data recorded at the Mount Washington Observatory, which has been recording data since 1935, and nearby Pinkham Notch.

The study found that between 1935 and 2018, average annual temperatures increased by 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit at Mount Washington and 2.1 degrees at Pinkham Notch.

The effect of this, the study says, is that over that time period, the area begins to experience two weeks of less ice conditions, as well as more days of melting when temperatures are above freezing.

The study also found that Pinkham Notch has experienced significantly less snow over time, with an average of 68 inches of snowfall between 1935 and 2018.

Snowfall on Mount Washington was largely unaffected during this time due to the notoriously strong winds blowing snow from the summit, the study said.

Less snow means local ski mountains have to make more snow of their own, which is expensive and cuts into their profits, WBUR reported. And even then, cold temperatures are required for the solution to work.

The growing season is also getting longer, radio stations reported, which is not entirely positive.

“What you might say is, ‘Oh great, I have a longer growing season for my garden,'” Georgia Murray, staff scientist at the Appalachian Mountain Club who led the analysis, told WBUR.

“But if the plants and animals in this environment get used to a certain type of climate, and it changes, you’re bound to see some impact.”

However, Murry told the radio station, there is hope that we may still be able to escape the biggest changes and impacts caused by climate change.

“There are still opportunities … to reduce our projected carbon emissions,” said Murray WBUR. “What we are trying to do is minimize the extreme changes we might see moving forward. So we still have work to do.”

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