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Scientists Say a Winter Without Snow Could Be Possible by 2040

Scientists say a winter without snow could be here as early as 2040. Here's everything you can do to help fight climate change.

Written by
Angelica Pizza

In most places, winter doesn't feel complete without snowfall. Many of us look forward to a white Christmas, and our kids look forward to snow days and sledding. But what happens when the snow stops? Experts say we could see snowless winters as early as 2040.

We've already seen some of the effects of climate change. From severe hurricanes and super typhoons to wildfires spreading along the West Coast, our planet is facing more extreme weather patterns and natural disasters than ever before. We've even seen some extreme winter storms in relatively warm climates. But now, scientists are saying there may be little-to-no snow in places that are normally covered in a white blanket.

What Does a Snowless Winter Look Like?

According to a study published in Nature Reviews Earth and Environment, mountainous western states that normally see a lot of snow are already seeing a decrease in snowfall. If greenhouse gas emissions don't decrease, snowless winters could become more common as early as 2040, and "low-to-now snow" will become persistent in 35 to 60 years.

This change in snowfall is a result of climate change and global warming. Global warming, the increase in the temperature of the Earth's atmosphere, is caused by massive amounts of carbon emissions. These emissions come from the mass burning of fossil fuels, even including our everyday activities like driving a car. Those emissions get trapped in the Earth's atmosphere, leading to an increase in temperatures and extreme weather patterns.

Scientists say the western U.S. relies on yearly snowpacks because once the seasons change, the snow melts and provides water. Therefore, a decrease in annual snowfall means a decrease in the agricultural and municipal water supply.

While snowfall changes vary by region, it's true that the Pacific Northwest has already seen a decrease in annual snowfall, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. And even when there's rain, the water is evaporating at increased rates due to the warmer temperatures.

It may be difficult to completely reverse the effects of climate change, but scientists say we can adapt to the change in snowfall. The study offers a few solutions, such as changing water infrastructure and storage to accommodate the decrease in supply.

While it may seem like climate change is out of our control, there are still ways to help, including decreasing your carbon footprint. Here's what you can do to get started—and keep winters white for years to come.

How You Can Help

The first step in decreasing your carbon footprint is living more sustainably. If you're not sure where to begin, you've come to the right place! Here are a few ways to live a more planet-friendly lifestyle.

1. Travel Sustainably

One of the main contributors to our carbon footprints is our travel habits. From driving to and from work to flying to your favorite vacation destination, your travel habits have an impact on the planet.

When possible, travel using public transportation at peak times. If you can't avoid flying, opt for flights that offset carbon emissions. Being more mindful of how we travel can effectively decrease our carbon footprints.

2. Conserve Energy

This step can be done within your home! Whenever you leave a room, be sure to turn the lights off. Unplug small appliances, such as the toaster or a phone charger, when you're not using them. Even dimming the lights can conserve energy.

3. Buy from Sustainable Businesses

Supporting businesses that keep the planet and the people in mind is a great way to show institutions that consumers want to see a more sustainable future. Look for businesses, in any industry, that have sustainability plans in place, including ways to offset carbon emissions and achieve zero waste.

Being a conscious consumer helps decrease overall waste and carbon emissions, so you can vote for a more sustainable future with your dollars.

4. Stay Informed and Get Involved

While your individual actions matter more than you think they do, it's true that change needs to happen on a larger scale. That's why it's important to educate yourself on current climate issues that expand beyond the changes in snowfall.

Quick Google searches can go a long way. And keeping up with local policymakers' plans for a more sustainable future can help you make more educated decisions when voting. The same way your actions matter, your voice matters, too.