Because snowpack in the world's major mountain chains--the Himalayas, Rockies, Alps and Andes--are so immensely important to river flows and water supplies across huge regions, hardly anything is more important than their fate in a warming world. Switzerland's Neue Zuercher Zeiting, one of the globe's top business newspapers, reports today, May 22, that during the last two decades, there have been fewer snowy days in the Alps than any time since measurements began.
The news report is based on findings by Christoph Marty of the Swiss Federal Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research. He found that at lower elevations (200-800 meters), the number of snow days has declined 50 percent in the last twenty years. At middle elevations, there are three weeks' fewer snow days, a drop of 40 percent.
According to NZZ, Marty's findings appeared in the AGU's Geophysical Research Letters on Wednesday. Watch the site; so far a search turns up no 2008 publications for Marty, and the most recent issue posted was from April.