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Projected Changes in Snowfall over the next 70 Years

February 27, 2013; 3:47 PM ET

A new climate model developed by the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) in Princeton, NJ and NOAA indicates that a majority of the planet will experience less snowfall over the next 70 years as a result of warming due to the doubling of atmospheric CO2.

The exceptions will be the polar regions, where snowfall will likely increase since warmer air can hold more moisture, resulting in more snow, according to the Princeton Journal Watch.

The model also projects an increase in snowfall for the high mountain peaks in the Himalayas, Andes and Yukon region. These regions are already experiencing an increase in snowfall according to the report.

Model projected percent change in annual snowfall (future vs. present). Image courtesy NOAA and the GFDL.

The greatest reductions in snowfall for the U.S. are projected to be along the Northeast coast and the Pacific Northwest with many coastal areas within these regions getting less than half the amount of snow in 70 years compared to today.

The reduced snowfall would be a serious problem, especially in the western United States since snowmelt is a main source of fresh water.

For a greater explanation of the actual GFDL model in this study you can go directly to the GFDL story.


The study was published in the Journal of Climate.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or


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