Despite the effects of climate change, the Adirondack region has managed to retain enough snow cover to permit the continuation of most winter sports. Unfortunately, the duration the winter season continues to be condensed, with less snow during the hunting and an abbreviated ice fishing season.
According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), global temperatures for the year of 2011, currently rank as the tenth highest since records were first established in 1850.
Scientists, who believe global warming is responsible for the continuing drop in Arctic sea ice, watched as the ice pack reached its lowest recorded levels again this year. Climate change is happening, and it appears to be accelerating. Doubters should consider the facts.
Until 2011 is retired to the history books, the top ‘Hottest Years on the Planet” occurred in 2010, 1998, 2005, 2003, 2002, 2009, 2004, 2006, 2007, and 2001.
Our wild weather is also getting windier. Six of the top ten wind records have been established since 1998. The last ten Spring seasons, spanning the years from 2002-2011 were among the windiest and driest 10-year period on record, capping a clear upward trend that began in the mid-1990s.
While skeptics remains, it is obvious that the climate has changed. Anyone who spends time outdoors has come to recognize that the weather is getting both warmer, and wetter and windier.
It stands to reason that water will evaporate more rapidly as temperatures continue to rise, and temperatures will increase. This increase in evaporation will result in greater and more frequent precipitation.
Fortunately, the majority of our local precipitation came as snow last winter, but when it did rain; it came down in buckets. Eventually, last year’s snowpack combined with the heavy spring rains to cause flooding that raised havoc from the High Peaks to Lake Champlain, and beyond.
The spring floods of 2011 were responsible for establishing new records across the region for both lake and river levels. And while the spring floods were labeled as “100 year flood” events, heavy rains in the early fall of 2011, soon eclipsed them with a “500 year flood” event. Fortunately, the most recent floods were not compounded by a dense snowpack. The heavy rains were enough to cause severe damage, all alone.
Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org