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This is how ice ages begin

By Robert W. Felix
web posted November 7, 2011

Ice ageLook at the recent Halloween weekend snowstorm. Headlines across the U.S.A. called it "historic." Historic because it dumped record snowfall on at least 20 cities from Maryland to Maine. Historic because it was the most snow – and the earliest – in many areas since the end of the Civil War.

And we're not talking mere tenths-of-an-inch here. This snowfall shattered the old records, it obliterated them.

The 14.6 inches of snow that fell in Worcester, Mass., almost doubled its previous single-day October record of 7.5 inches set in 1979, while Hartford's 12.3 inches crushed the previous single-day October record of 1.7 inches, seven times more than its earlier record.

But with 32 inches (81 cm) of snow, Peru, Massachusetts, won the prize. Two-and-a-half feet! Waist deep! Before Halloween!

This is how ice ages begin.

Not by huge glaciers slowly grinding out of the north, not by temperatures plunging to Siberian levels, but by more and more snow.

Unfortunately, we're getting that snow.

According to Rutgers University Global Snow Lab, three of the four snowiest winters in the Northern Hemisphere have occurred in the last four years.

Three of the four snowiest Northern Hemisphere winters have occurred since 2008.

Look at last winter.

Last year's blizzard-filled winter and unusually cold, wet spring left record snowpack at more than 90 measuring sites across the western United States.

By Memorial Day, epic snowpack had been reported in Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Washington and California.

On California's Mammoth Mountain, the snowpack measured an incredible 728 percent of normal.

At Oregon's Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort, snow totals reached 650 inches, far eclipsing the previous record of 606 inches.

In Washington, Crystal Mountain broke its all-time snowfall record for the second time in only 11 years.

And the snow kept coming. In early June, Utah's Snowbird ski resort reported snowpack at 525 percent of normal

"There are places on the mountain that will probably retain snow all summer long," said Emily Moench, Sunbird's communications manager.

Read that again. "There are places on the mountain that will probably retain snow all summer long"!

This is how ice ages begin!

And lest we forget, just a few months ago the Missouri River suffered its second 500-year flood in 15 years. Why? Because of heavy rains and melting record snowpack.

But the news gets even worse.

Glaciers are growing in the United States.

Even though last winter's historic snowpack has not yet melted, new snow is already piling up in the Rocky Mountains.

In Montana's Glacier National Park, in Colorado's Front Range, in Wyoming's Grand Tetons, the glaciers and snowfields are actually gaining volume.

When Bob Comey, director of the Bridger-Teton National Forest Avalanche Center, compared photographs of Wyoming mountain peaks, he found "significantly" more ice in the Teton Range compared with two years ago.

"I've never seen a season with a gain like we've seen this summer," said Comey.

And when scientist Nel Caine checked on Arikaree Glacier 20 miles west of Boulder, Colorado, he measured between 2 and 3 feet of snow from last winter and spring still remaining in late September.

Meanwhile, scientists have measured a "very modest" increase on Sperry Glacier in Montana's Glacier National Park.

Mind you, these are not the only glaciers growing in the United States. Glaciers are also growing in California, Alaska and Washington state.

This is how ice ages begin.

And our leaders keep screaming about global warming. ESR

Robert W. Felix is the author of "Not By Fire, But By Ice" and the editor of www.iceagenow.info, a website devoted to the topic.

 

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