Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

How Skiers, Snowboarders Are Helping Create Climate Science

Adventure

Some backcountry skiers and snowboarders are not just hitting the slopes. They're measuring how deep the snow is and sending the data to climate scientists.


Listen here:

"Data is lacking in mountain areas across the globe and particularly in western North America," says Gabriel Wolken of the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. "And if we don't have a better understanding of how snow is distributed in these areas, we have a limited amount of baseline data to evaluate changes in the future."

Wolken says melting mountain snow feeds rivers and lakes through the spring, summer, and fall. So understanding and predicting changes in the snowpack is important for managing water supplies.

But collecting data is time-consuming. So five years ago, when Wolken and other researchers were working in Alaska, they asked a local ski club for help.

"We gave them GPS and of course they all had avalanche probes in their backpacks," Wolken says. "And we said, 'OK, go out and sample as much as you can.'"

The effort was a success, and soon the NASA-funded Community Snow Observations project was born. Now, thousands of volunteers from around the world have submitted observations — serving science while they're out having fun.

Reposted with permission from Yale Climate Connections.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Pexels

By Brian J. Love and Julie Rieland

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the U.S. recycling industry. Waste sources, quantities and destinations are all in flux, and shutdowns have devastated an industry that was already struggling.

Read More Show Less
Pixabay

By Kris Gunnars, BSc

Unhealthy foods play a primary role in many people gaining weight and developing chronic health conditions, more now than ever before.

Read More Show Less
A man pushes his mother in a wheelchair down Ocean Drive in South Beach, Miami on May 19, 2020, amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. reported more than 55,000 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, in a sign that the outbreak is not letting up as the Fourth of July weekend kicks off.

Read More Show Less
To better understand how people influence the overall health of dolphins, Oklahoma State University's Unmanned Systems Research Institute is developing a drone to collect samples from the spray that comes from their blowholes. Ken Y. / CC by 2.0

By Jason Bruck

Human actions have taken a steep toll on whales and dolphins. Some studies estimate that small whale abundance, which includes dolphins, has fallen 87% since 1980 and thousands of whales die from rope entanglement annually. But humans also cause less obvious harm. Researchers have found changes in the stress levels, reproductive health and respiratory health of these animals, but this valuable data is extremely hard to collect.

Read More Show Less

Sunscreen pollution is accelerating the demise of coral reefs globally by causing permanent DNA damage to coral. gonzalo martinez / iStock / Getty Images Plus

On July 29, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law a controversial bill prohibiting local governments from banning certain types of sunscreens.

Read More Show Less
Oat milk is popping up at coffee shops and grocery stores alike, quickly becoming one of the trendiest plant-based milks. jacqueline / CC by 2.0

By Kelli McGrane

Oat milk is popping up at coffee shops and grocery stores alike, quickly becoming one of the trendiest plant-based milks.

Read More Show Less

Trending


"Emissions from pyrotechnic displays are composed of numerous organic compounds as well as metals," a new study reports. Nodar Chernishev / EyeEm / Getty Images

Fireworks have taken a lot of heat recently. In South Dakota, fire experts have said President Trump's plan to hold a fireworks show is dangerous and public health experts have criticized the lack of plans to enforce mask wearing or social distancing. Now, a new study shows that shooting off fireworks at home may expose you and your family to dangerous levels of lead, copper and other toxins.

Read More Show Less