“Nature is always presenting us with surprises.
And perhaps we are surprised only because we are ignorant.”
(John C. Van Dyke)
I’ve been wondering if/when some signs of climate change and global warming are going to become visible via a quick glance out of my (or most anyone’s) window. In that regard, in fact, I have to wonder if maybe I might have spotted one of those local indicators, and maybe even managed to record it digitally for posterity — last month, March 2016, globally the warmest March since records have been kept.
Below is a series of five photos of the same basic scene (Rocky Mountain Front Range, the series of peaks called the Sierra Mojada, or the Wet Mountains) taken from the same spot (my tee-tiny office’s window). The dates begin in September 2009 and end just last month in March 2016, and each one shows the mountains on the morning after a heavy snowfall. I should note that the four main snow-clad peaks are, l. to r., Greenhorn, North Peak, Mt. St. Charles, and Round Top (clipped, not fully shown). Each peak stands above the timberline and ranges in elevation from 11,750 ft. to 12,350 ft., and all are typically white with snow from late September thru mid-May. Till this year, that is.
The first photo is the ‘oldest’ and shows three of the four peaks noted above, and each of the mountains are snow-clad from summit to base (approx. 7000 ft.). The pair of pines in the foreground stand a block from my window at roughly 6000 ft. and about 7 miles from the base of the mountains. The Mojada are about 5000 ft. tall, i.o.w.
▲1. September 2009▲
The second photo mainly focuses on North Peak and Mt. St. Charles (with portions of Greenhorn and Round Top, l. and r., resp.). Note that the pines in the foreground are free of snow but the peaks and the heavily timbered mountain slopes are covered with the white stuff.
▲2. April 2010▲
Photo number 3 shows the result of a heavy snow from the summits to below 6000 ft, foreground pines included.
▲3. October 2011▲
Photo 4 shows Mt. St. Charles the morning after a heavy snowfall that once again coated the pines at 6000 ft. Note the date.
▲4. February 2015▲
Finally, the fifth photo shows one of the strangest snowfalls I’ve ever seen. Note that the summits of both North Peak and Mt. St. Charles are far less snow-clad than is typical — lots of bare spots — and the 6000 ft. foreground pines are also clear of snow. The only fresh snow is in the band from the mtn’s base (around 7000 ft) to the cutoff point about halfway up the slope, or around 9500 ft. The date is 13 months beyond number 4 above — March 2016, the “hottest” March since records have been kept.
▲5. March 2016▲
Is that weird snowfall pattern a ‘symptom’ of climate change as seen through my window? I have to wonder how often, historically, mountain snows have made it a point to avoid the summits and instead go for the mid-range elevations elevations only. First time for everything, I suppose, especially on a world in which the most intelligent species consistently performs (and then ignores the consequences thereof) the role of what could easily be viewed as LEAST! intelligent.
I should check with James Inhofe, maybe? Or Trump? Is what I’m seeing happening because of something the Chinese are doing in their effort to sabotage the world economy? Something like that?
If I do hear back from them, I’ll make sure to spread the word. Meanwhile —
“If we but knew our facts, they would point their own conclusions,
and neither theory nor argument would be needed.”
(John C.Van Dyke)