Yellowstone Sets Records For Cold & Snow
The National Weather Service (NWS) has reported that this winter, 2023, in Yellowstone National Park was among the coldest and snowiest winters on record.
Just to be clear on that, humans have only been keeping records in that area just a little over 100 years. That's a very small sample of the region's history.
The park received 113-137 percent of the average snowpack at various locations.
Below-average temperatures were recorded in Mammoth and Old Faithful.
The Tetons have also had the snowiest winter on record.
As far as record keeping goes, that's just one winter.
To get an idea of what is happening in the long term we have to look at trends that go way beyond what few records have been kept over the past 100 years.
Of the 17 cycles between glacial and interglacial periods we know of we find that glacial periods lasted longer than the interglacial periods.
The last glacial period began about 100,000 years ago and lasted until 25,000 years ago.
As nears as we can tell Earth has NOT had polar ice caps through most of its history.
So when we think of the current North & South Poles, those are what's left of the last ice age.
Winter, as we experience it, is what is left of the last ice age that is still, slowly, coming to an end.
Today we are in a warm interglacial period.
The planet has been warming, slowly, for a long time.
The American West has been getting drying, slowly, for a very long time.
Long before humans arrived on the scene.
These trends that began during the last glacial period started ending is still warming and drying the West to this day.
Following the trends helps us understand what might happen in the next few thousand years. But there is really no way of knowing if we will plunge into another ice age or continue to get warmer.
All scientists can do is look at the evidence and make their best guess as to what they think might happen next.
As humans, to survive, we have to adapt, which we are pretty good a doing, so far.