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Climate Change: What is Winter Without Snow?

Living in the Northeast, I grew up with snow every winter. I might be the last generation that remembers snow in these amounts.

By: Shannon Bushinsky + Save to a List

When I asked the younger kids in my neighborhood about snow, they said it was normal for them to see snow once or twice before it rapidly melts during the winter.  It was common for them to describe the winter as "gray" and "depressing" with no life.  I was stunned when I heard this.  When I was their age, I saw snow consistently throughout the winter in huge amounts, making winter bright and pleasant.

My childhood was different from theirs.  Elementary school in the winter included uncountable snow days and feet of snow.  The ground was always covered in the white, glowing fluffy precipitation throughout the season.  We could always count on having several days off from school between late November and February and sometimes even early March.  Snow always blanketed the ground.  The white glow made the landscape inviting and pleasant.

Just 12 years later, instead of several snowstorms throughout the winter, we were lucky enough to have just one.  And this one storm would only drop a few inches of snow, if that.  Last winter, there was only one significant storm that dropped a few feet of snow.  This winter, we have not had more than 1 inch of snow until there was a storm that dropped 5 inches a few days ago.  It has been depressing looking at a gray landscape without snow recently, knowing that climate change is the main factor in this weather.

According to the EPA, nearly 80% of precipitation during the winter has fallen in the form of rain rather than snow.  I can agree with; it has happened to me.  Any time there is precipitation in the forecast, it is always too warm to form snow.  Temperatures in the winter now have hit up to 55 degrees this past season, breaking records all over the state.  In my area, according the a map from the EPA, snowfall has been decreasing at roughly about 1.2% every year.

The time to act is now.  We can't afford to let climate change go unchecked any longer.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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