Like the governors of Texas and Oklahoma who responded last year to global-warming-fueled drought by praying for rain, ski resorts in the West are now praying for snow. At Vail, a Ute tribal leader was “asked by executives at the country’s skiing mecca to perform a snow dance”:
Mountain resorts across the U.S. are desperate for fresh powder. For the first time since the 1800s, Lake Tahoe received no December snow. Peaks in the Northeast saw rain. Vail Resorts recently reported a 15% decrease in total skier visits at its six properties, and not for 30 years have Vail Mountain’s back bowls, perhaps the most prized terrain in the country, been roped off so late in the season for lack of snow.
The Wall Street Journal’s Ben Cohen describes the freak conditions only as “peculiar La Niña weather,” ignoring the existence of global warming, which has been predicted for by climate scientists to bring warmer winters with fewer and more intense storms. This year’s weather patterns are being driven primarily by unusual distributions of hot and cold surface water in the warming Pacific, as well strange circulation patterns in the rapidly warming and melting Arctic.
While it’s cute to give credit for recent snowfall to a tribal snow dance, the unfortunate reality is that our actual influence on the weather is from the hundreds of billions of tons of greenhouse pollution we have spewed into the atmosphere.