‘Significant warming trend’ found in climate records atop Mount Washington – CBS Boston

MOUNT WASHINGTON, NH (CBS) — Rising to nearly 6,300 feet, Mount Washington is New England’s tallest peak. It’s called “The Rockpile” and it’s the worst climate in the world.

Blinding snowstorms, hurricane-force winds, and incredible cold are commonplace at the summit and truly make Mount Washington a unique place on Earth.

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Climate records for Mount Washington began in 1932. A group of hardy, intrepid men banded together at the summit to begin what is now the longest continuous record of high altitude data in the northeast.

Brian Fitzgerald, scientific director of the Mount Washington Observatory, says they are sitting on a “trove of data”.

“Each year that we continue to add is another opportunity to examine broader trends,” adds Fitzgerald.

Using data from the summit and a nearby low-lying site at Pinkham Notch, the Appalachian Mountain Club studied the climate of the White Mountains.

“This is the first time we’ve documented a significant warming trend at the summit,” noted Georgia Murray, the MAC scientist who led the research.

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Murray and his team noted several “biomarker” changes, such as the change in growing season at Pinkham Notch and at the top. They also found that the snowpack at Pinkham Notch was melting fourteen days earlier than in the 1930s, causing earlier spring warming.

These warming temperatures and changing seasons affect animals and plants, like Robbins’ Cinquefoil, which is found only above the treeline in the White Mountains and nowhere else on Earth.

“There will be plants well adapted to a changing climate. As soon as the temperatures change, the plant reacts. But there are other plants that don’t respond to that signal,” Murray said.

She pointed out that outdoor enthusiasts want to hold on to their winters.

“It’s a very big part of who we are in northern New Hampshire,” she added.

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With Mount Washington at the heart of ski country, this research is especially important for these resorts. Further proof they will need to adapt to the changing winter or face the prospect of less and less snow in the years to come.