Geoff Wilson from the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies and a PSU teaching lecturer, CFE’s Mark Green, and Ken Mack from Loon Mountain Resort, recently co-authored a paper about climate change and snowmaking in New Hampshire. Their work focused on interpreting the winter climate warming observed over a 50-year record at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest (HBEF) in Woodstock, NH in terms of snowmaking time frames and conditions at Loon Mountain, the closest ski resort.
Their work found that significant warming of winter temperatures over a 50-year record was strongest at the early portion of the snowmaking season, especially in the weeks between 1 December and 25 December. This is a critical time for ski areas due to a large number of skiers visiting around the Christmas and New Year holidays. The warmer temperatures decreases the opportunity for optimal snowmaking and increases the need for large volumes of water to make snow in less time. Loon Mountain’s investments in modern snowmaking has outpaced the pressure from climate warming to date, but this has concentrated demand for water into smaller time frames.
The full article is available at http://www.bioone.org/doi/pdf/10.1659/MRD-JOURNAL-D-17-00117.
Wilson, Geoff, Mark Green, and Ken Mack (2018) Historical Climate Warming in the White Mountains of New Hampshire (USA): Implications for Snowmaking Water Needs at Ski Areas. Mountain Research and Development. 38(2):164-171.