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Articles on Snow

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Snow’s physical properties mean that it can accumulate chemicals from the environment, including nanoparticles from car exhaust. (Shutterstock)

Snow can spread and worsen the effects of pollutants in the environment

From persistent chemicals to exhaust particulate matter, snow accumulates highly toxic pollutants. Regulations are needed to address the impacts on water supplies and the food chain.
The alpine skiing course at the 2022 Winter Olympics, on Feb. 2, 2022, in the Yanqing district of Beijing. All the snow at this year’s Olympic venues is machine-made. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

Beijing’s scant snow offers a glimpse at the uncertainty — and risks — of future Winter Olympics

An analysis of 21 former Winter Olympic venues found that only one of them would be suitable and offer safe racing conditions for athletes if greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise.
Boston got socked with nearly 2 feet of snow in late January 2022. Scott Eisen/Getty Images

Why a warming climate can bring bigger snowstorms

Winters are getting warmer, yet Bostonians were digging out from nearly 2 feet of snow from a historic blizzard in late January. Why is the Northeast seeing more big snowstorms like this?
Winter road salting is a common de-icing technique used to ensure public safety during icy winters. However, it is crucial to find sustainable and environment-friendly alternatives to road salt. (Shutterstock)

Winter road salting has year-round consequences

Salty water seeps into our soils and groundwater through surface runoff and storm-water pipes. The long-term storage of salt in the environment impacts aquatic life, infrastructure and drinking water.
In high alpine terrain, sun and dry air can turn snow straight into water vapor. Jeffrey Pang/WikimediaCommons

Snow can disappear straight into the atmosphere in hot, dry weather

As rivers run dry in the Rocky Mountains and the West, it’s easy to wonder where all the snow you see on mountain peaks goes. Some of it ends up in the air, but researchers aren’t sure how much.
Dry conditions across the West follow a hot, dry year of record-setting wildfires in 2020. Communities were left with scenes like this, from California’s Creek Fire. Amir Aghakouchak/University of California Irvine

Another dangerous fire season is looming in the Western U.S., and the drought-stricken region is headed for a water crisis

Drought conditions are so bad, fish hatcheries are trucking their salmon to the ocean and ranchers are worried about having enough water for their livestock.

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