Tag Archives: snow

How the Ski Industry is Working to Save Winter

The outdoor industry is upping its sustainability game, and the ski industry is no exception. Downhill skiing is notoriously known for its environmental impact?anywhere large amounts of people flock is bound to be a recipe for excessive waste. But?hitting the slopes may arguably be the?most carbon-intensive outdoor sport.

In particular, ski slopes use incredible amounts of electricity, from slope-side lighting?and fuel-intensive snow-making to keeping things toasty inside for patrons drinking their apr?s hot cocoas. But?energy isn’t the only hungry environmental monster. In the French Alps, it is estimated that yearly artificial snow production requires the same amount of water as would be used by 1,500 people. That’s a lot of water waste for just a little fake snow. And that’s not to mention the impacts of fake snow on the natural environment, which requires immense energy to produce, causes water displacement, and melts 2 to 3 weeks later in the season than natural snow, which postpones snowmelt. Scientists are still unsure about the ramifications of this.

No one can argue that ski resorts have a lot to lose when it comes to climate change and warming global temperatures. They rely primarily on a cold, snowy winter season, so it is in the industry?s best interests to do all it can to thwart a complete environmental meltdown. And that?s why ski resorts nationwide are looking to seriously green up their acts.

Many ski areas have pledged to do all they can to keep up with Paris Climate Accord goals, even though the US government has pulled out. Green building policies are being implemented for new condominiums in order to protect nearby animal habitats. Ski California has already set goals for water conservation, land preservation, increased clean public transit options and general increased efficiency and sustainability all around.?There are?plenty of?ways to reduce?the skiing industry?s carbon footprint, and that’s great for both skiers and the industry at large.

But the ski industry is looking to?get even greener.

Resorts across the country are working to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels and make the move towards renewable energy. Jiminy Peak in Western Massachusetts runs one third of its energy needs (two thirds in winter) off of wind power, and they are looking to reduce their carbon footprint more and more each year.

Even more impressive, California ski resort Squaw Valley has just released its plan to go 100 percent renewable by as early as December 2018. The move from fossils to renewables by the ski industry is hopefully the first step in a larger shift in outdoor recreation towards renewable energy. After all, in order to play outdoors you need a healthy, clean environment to do it in.

If you love skiing but have a green conscience, it is important to choose your resort destinations carefully. Factor in airline travel, the resort’s sustainability practices,?the gear and food you buy, weather and anything else to make sure you aren?t adding to the problem. And if your local slope isn?t greening it up, talk to the manager, show them what some other resorts are doing and discuss ways you think?cleaner practices?could increase their slope?s economic and environmental viability in tandem. Let’s be real: increased environmental consciousness will pay off for all of us?on the long run.

Do you love skiing? What do you think you could do on your own to make your season pass less carbon intensive? Share your best ideas below!? ??

Related on Care2:

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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How the Ski Industry is Working to Save Winter

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Ready or not, winter ‘bomb cyclone’ heads for East Coast

This story was originally published by Mother Jones and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

Much of the eastern United States has been assaulted by brutally cold temperatures over the last week. New Year’s Eve revelers in New York City rang in 2018 in 9 degree weather — the coldest midnight temperature since 1907.

And the worst is yet to come.

On Tuesday, the Washington Post reported that a “bomb cyclone” is expected to batter the East Coast later this week. A weather system only earns that name by dropping in pressure rapidly — at least 24 millibars over 24 hours — in a process called bombogenesis. Winds could kick up to 55 mph just off the coast of New England, a prospect that has prompted local weather stations to warn of hurricane-force winds.

In Boston, which is no stranger to cold weather and has suffered through brutally low temperatures this past week, the National Weather Service forecasts near-blizzard conditions, with just a quarter-mile of visibility.

But the snow won’t be limited to northern states. As far south as Georgia and Florida, forecasters are calling for potentially dangerous winter weather, with several inches of snow in some areas.

In late 2016, Mother Jones reported that climate change may be contributing to such weather events.

The theory — advanced by Rutgers professor Jennifer Francis and other scientists — is that the rapidly warming Arctic is affecting the jet stream in ways that can contribute to bone-chilling weather in other parts of the Northern Hemisphere:

To understand how it works, it first helps to think of the jet stream as a river of air that flows from west to east in the Northern Hemisphere, bringing with it much of our weather. Its motion — sometimes in a relatively straight path, sometimes in a more loopy one — is driven by a difference in temperatures between the equator and the North Pole. Southern temperatures are of course warmer, and because warm air takes up more space than cold air, this leads to taller columns of air in the atmosphere. “If you were sitting on top of a layer of atmosphere and you were in DC, looking northward, it would be like looking down a hill, because it’s warmer where you are,” explains Francis. The jet stream then flows “downhill,” so to speak, in a northward direction. But it’s also bent by the rotation of the Earth, leading to its continual wavy, eastward motion. As the Arctic rapidly heats up, however, there’s less of a temperature difference between the equator and the poles, and the downhill slope in the atmosphere is accordingly less steep.

That shrinking temperature difference is what wreaks havoc on the jet stream. “When the jet stream gets weaker, it meanders more,” explained Francis in an interview this week. “It wanders north and south and when it gets into one of these wandering and wavy patterns, that’s when we see these pools of cold air pulled southward.” Those pools of cold air are what vast parts of the country are experiencing right now.

The bomb cyclone is expected to leave bone-chilling cold in its wake — even colder than the last few weeks. Temperatures will likely drop 20 to 40 degrees below normal, the Washington Post reports. That means sub-zero in nearly all of New England — and lows reaching down into the 20s, if you can believe it, in Florida.

Seasoned experts over at the National Weather Service have tips for avoiding hypothermia. President Donald Trump simply suggests we “bundle up.”

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Ready or not, winter ‘bomb cyclone’ heads for East Coast

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There Is a New Video Of Giant Panda Tian Tian Rolling Around In the Snow

Mother Jones

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC “-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN” “http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd”>

Awwwww! Look at it roll!

#TianTian is still rolling in the snow, but we’re still clearing it for visitors! The Zoo will be closed Jan. 26 while we continue to clear roadways and pathways for humans. #Blizzard2016

A video posted by Smithsonian’s National Zoo (@smithsonianzoo) on Jan 25, 2016 at 11:29am PST

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There Is a New Video Of Giant Panda Tian Tian Rolling Around In the Snow

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Hurom HU-100 Slow Juicer, Snow White

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Hurom HU-100 Slow Juicer, Snow White

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This Pink Snow Is Not What You Think it Is

You know you’re not supposed to eat the yellow snow, but what about this pink stuff?

Image: Will Beback

At Scientific American, Jennifer Frazer tells of stumbling upon pink snow in Colorado a few years ago. But she’s far from the first person to find this curious pink stuff in the powder. Captain John Ross’s 1818 expedition through the Northwest Passage also found pink snow and thought it was iron-nickel meteorite detritus. His weird discovery even made the London Times:

Sir John Ross did not see any red snow fall; but he saw large tracts overspread with it. The colour of the fields of snow was not uniform; but, on the contrary, there were patches or streaks more or less red, and of various depths of tint. The liquor, or dissolved snow, is of so dark a red as to resemble red port wine.

But it wasn’t iron-nickel meteorite. It was actually an algae. Frazer explains:

If there’s one thing Earth has taught us, it’s that if a surface or substrate is ever wet, something will grow. And, despite near-zero temperatures, acidity, solar irradiation, and what must be frankly admitted to be minimal nutritional value, snow is no exception. Over 60 species of algae alone dwell there, and no doubt more await discovery. Scientists just announced this May the discovery of a new species from Colorado snow that they suggest could be a source of biofuel feedstock for northern climates where other algae cannot thrive.

This algae in particular, named Chlamydormonas nivalis, is actually the most common of the snow alga, Frazer writes. Frazer explains in her post how it moves about in the snow and why it’s red. 

The phenomenon is commonly known as watermelon snow, red snow or blood snow. The nickname “watermelon snow” comes not only from the pink color, but it is said to smell slightly sweet, a bit like watermelon. Walking on this pink snow can stain your boots. Wayne’s World, an online textbook of natural history, writes that to really understand and appreciate the algae, you have to see it up close:

Through a microscope a drop of melted snow contains literally thousands of brilliant red cells of Chlamydomonas nivalis that resemble globular hard candies. Critical focusing reveals a thickened wall with a warty or minutely bumpy ornamentation.

Here’s what the little cells look like up close:

Image: USDA

But can you eat it? SummitPost.org says that you probably can, but might not want to:

In general, most algae is considered edible. Even the faint watermelon-like scent of snow algae might give that impression. The author of this SummitPost article has even tasted very small doses of snow algae, for testing purposes, without feeling sick. However, it is possible that snow algae might be contaminated by bacteria and toxic algae that are harmful to humans. Eating large quantities of watermelon snow has been known to cause digestive ailments, although the tolerance level of each person’s digestive system might be different.

More from Smithsonian.com:

Eating Snow
Sugar on Snow

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This Pink Snow Is Not What You Think it Is

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