Journal Highlights

Hawaiian mountains could lose snow cover by 2100

Blog—

Daydreams of the tropical paradise of Hawaiʻi rarely include snow in the imagery, but nearly every year, a beautiful white blanket covers the highest peaks in the state for at least a few days. However, systematic observations of snowfall and the snow cover dimensions on Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa are practically nonexistent.

A group of climate modelers led by Chunxi Zhang from the International Pacific Research Center (IPRC) at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa used satellite images to quantify recent snow cover distributions patterns. They developed a regional climate model to simulate the present-day snowfalls and then to project future Hawaiian snowfalls.

Their results, accepted for publication in Earth’s Future, a journal of the American Geophysical Union, indicate that the two volcano summits are typically snow-covered at least 20 days each winter, on average, but that the snow cover will nearly disappear by the end of the century…more

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