Amid increasing concerns about the warming of the planet, ski resorts across the Northeast are reporting some of the best snowfall levels in recorded history.
Waterville Valley in New Hampshire had a top-five year in terms of snow accumulation, with 192 inches having fallen to the slopes so far, the mountain's director of marketing, Deborah Moore, said. A recent snowstorm on Mt. Mansfield, the home of Stowe Mountain Resort in Vermont, boosted the season snow total to 367 inches, making this ski season the snowiest in the last 10 years. "We're still expecting at least one more dump of snow," the communications director at Stowe, Jeff Wise, said.
For those who reject the popular consensus that the world is on the brink of a global warming crisis, the mass snowfall provides a form of validation.
"The reports of global warming have been extremely overblown. It shouldn't be any surprise that we're going to have years with temperatures lower than average and snowfall higher than average," a senior fellow for environmental policy at the Heartland Institute, James Taylor, said.
While a majority of the Northeast has witnessed higher than average snowfalls this year, some areas in New Hampshire are on the brink of recording unprecedented numbers.
In Concord, N.H., one more snowstorm could depose of a 134-year-old record. So far this winter, 115.8 inches of snow have hit the sidewalks of the city, the second greatest amount of snowfall ever recorded — and just a few inches short of the record of 122 inches recorded in the winter of 1873-74, a local meteorologist with the National Weather Service, James Hayes, said.
An observer for the National Weather Service near Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire has already reported a record amount of snowfall for the area, Mr. Hayes said.
For some scientists, the mass snowfall illustrates an inherent feature of global warming.
A climate scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, Brenda Ekwurzel, said the warming of the atmosphere permits air to hold more vapors, creating greater levels of precipitation and snow.
While snowfall recorded at Whiteface Mountain in Lake Placid was above average this season, the winter couldn't be considered recordworthy, the mountain's assistant general manager, Bruce McCulley, said. However, consistent low temperatures kept snow from melting, making for a fantastic season, he said.
Mr. Taylor pointed out that during the entire 20th century the earth warmed only 0.6 degrees Celsius.
Ski resorts within a few hours' drive of the city weren't as fortunate as those farther north. At Hunter Mountain, 85 inches of snow has fallen this winter, the mountain's director of marketing, Rob Megnin, said. That number is about 40 inches below the 30-year average, according to records kept by the National Weather Service.
"Climate change isn't happening in a vacuum. We have global warming on top of natural cycles," Ms. Ekwurzel said.