UW News

April 9, 2009

Lecture considers climate change effects on PNW mountain snow

Temperature inversions sometimes cause mountain tops to be 10 to 20 degrees C warmer than nearby valleys, making such inversions one of many important variables affecting mountain snow in the Pacific Northwest.

That and other factors will be examined in the lecture, Understanding Variation in the Mountain Snow in the Pacific Northwest: Impacts of Climate Change and Importance of Location, set for 7 p.m., Thursday, April 23, in 120 Kane.

Jessica Lundquist, UW assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, is the speaker in this the eighth annual public lecture sponsored by the UW Program on Climate Change. The lecture is free, open to the public and pre-registration is not needed. For more information call 206-543-6521 or visit http://www.uwpcc.washington.edu/.

Lundquist will also talk about such things as determining the magnitude of streamflow from storms or from rain-on-snow events, particularly in light of projected climate change.

The Program on Climate Change coordinates research and teaching among colleges, departments, and research units that focus on important questions about how climate and the physical and human world interact. This year the program’s central theme concerns the past, present and future climate of the Pacific Northwest.

“Effects of past climate ¬– such as ice sheets over Puget Sound and the megafloods of the Columbia River — have shaped our region,” says Chris Bretherton, director of the program and professor of atmospheric sciences and applied mathematics. “In the 21st century we will have to learn how to adapt to rapid greenhouse warming, projected to bring us less snow, more damaging floods, more forest fires and changes to marine ecosystems.”