Future of Utah’s slopes

With Memorial Day now past, Utah’s 2015-2016 ski season is officially closed. But as the climate warms throughout the century, ski resorts at lower elevations may be forced to close earlier due to a lack of spring snowpack. In a recently accepted study, Utah atmospheric science researchers modeled future climate change in the Wasatch Mountains, finding that at high elevations, total precipitation is the best predictor of spring snowpack depth. But at lower elevations, temperature is the best predictor. As temperatures rise, the threshold elevation between the two snowpack predictors also rises, placing low-elevation ski resorts at the mercy of the mercury. Study co-author Court Strong is available to discuss the study’s methods, results, and implications that extend beyond Utah to the rest of the Intermountain West.

Court Strong | 801-585-0049 | court.strong@utah.edu