Mon February 24, 2014
Earth Calendar for February 24th and February 25th
It goes without saying that snow is an important ingredient for the Winter Olympics. So what happens when warm weather impacts the quality and quantity of snow?
Sustained above-freezing temperatures create slushy snow that can impact winter sports in myriad ways – slowing down alpine skiers and halfpipe riders, making tricks more difficult, and creating dangerous conditions for ski jumpers and cross country skiers.
According to NOAA, Sochi is among the warmest cities to have hosted the Winter Olympics. Snowmaking machines that work in above-freezing temperatures, stockpiled snow, and rock salt were used to help mitigate the melting, but what’s an Olympian to do? Skiers are turning to an important tool in their Olympic arsenal: wax. The right ski wax makes all the difference. Using more fluorocarbon wax, which repels water and dirt like Teflon, can help Olympic athletes go for the gold – even in less-than-ideal conditions. Snow cover extent over Russia decreased from 1965 to 1990, but this decreasing trend ceased over the last two decades. Snow cover periods are shorter. The climatic record of the past 40 years indicates that the first snowfall occurs later and snowmelt occurs earlier over most of Russia and Permafrost – permanently frozen soil in the high latitudes – is thawing in the southern boundary of the permafrost zone in northern European Russia and West Siberia. More than half of Russia falls within permafrost zones and most permafrost observatories in Russia show substantial warming of permafrost over the last 20 to 30 years. NOAA provides more information online.
On Our Calendar: Join the Hamilton County Parks naturalist for a celebration all about owls and their magnificent adaptations. Meet a common owl of the area and see its unique features up close. Saturday, March 1st, 2:00 pm Winton Woods/Winton Centre. More information at the website.