How Does Warming Temperatures Impact the Snowpack in Alpine Catchments?
Southern New Hampshire University
As the Earth warms up a plethora of environmental issues arise in the alpine region. Various models are now showing that in the future there could be an increase in rain as winter precipitation due to a consistent rise in temperatures in the alpine region. This rain can cause a variety of problems in alpine ecosystems and water basins. Snowpack in these regions is expected to decrease which in turn can have major reductions on spring/summer runoff flows because of the decrease in frozen precipitation during the winter months that can result in flash flooding, droughts, and decrease in ground water storage. Not only does the decrease in snowpack in the alpine region affect the abiotic factors like water, they also impact biotic organisms such as various lichen that rely on the insulation properties of snow during the winter. Snowpack in these regions is expected to decrease which in turn can have major reductions on spring/summer runoff flows. The models shown here are important to see how dangerous uniform global warming is on alpine regions due to the decrease in snowpack and the timing of melting in alpine regions that can be applied to the White Mountains in New Hampshire.