Some experts say that the recent spike in avalanche deaths is also to blame. seriously.
However, the unique combination of climate and pandemic-related trends may cause the United States to break records. The reasons are as follows:
The climate creates avalanche conditions.
The slope is obvious. But snow accumulation refers to the accumulation of snow on the ground.
Each storm brings different types of snow, with layers of snow. This year, the weaker layer is located deep in the snow, while the stronger layer is on the top. CAIC deputy director Brian Lazar said this makes the surface extremely unstable.
Lazar told CNN: “This year, we saw a very dangerous snow accumulation. This unique condition occurs once every ten years or so.” “This structure is very conducive to avalanches.”
He said: “Like any structure, you don’t want the weakest material to be used at the bottom. Therefore, when you build a snow-covered structure with a weaker layer under a stronger layer, it is an ideal condition for an avalanche.” He said.
Lazar said that the effects of climate change-especially long-term droughts and subsequent heavy rainfall events-have caused weak snow cover this season.
He said: “The feature of this year is the early snowfall and snow clinging to the ground, followed by quite obvious dry periods. When you encounter these dry periods in cold and sunny conditions, the snow on the ground will change. Into a weak layer,”.
…But people in remote areas will trigger them
In the United States, the coronavirus pandemic is still raging, and more and more people are going to the mountains to enjoy nature and avoid crowds where the virus is spreading. Many people started skiing, snowboarding and snowboarding.
Spokesperson Nate Wolleson told CNN that the number of visitors to Snow Trails, a ski resort in Mansfield, Ohio, has increased by 60% compared to last winter.
Dr. Karl Birkeland, director of the National Avalanche Center of the US Forest Service, said that this trend has spread throughout the country, including many public and national parks.
Although more tourists are usually a good thing, the weak snow cover this season makes winter sports more dangerous-especially in remote areas where avalanches are common.
“We are seeing a sharp increase in our public land use, so there are more people skiing and snowboarding there, which means there are more potential triggers,” said Berkland. “The pandemic has definitely increased entry. The number of people in remote areas, which increases our likelihood of suffering a potential avalanche accident. “
Derek Van Dam, a meteorologist at CNN, responded to Birkeland’s assessment. He said that weak snow and increased traffic flow in remote areas have contributed to this issue. A surge in seasonal avalanche deaths.
He said: “People just want to reproduce it outdoors to avoid too many crowds.” “Backcountry skiing provides this kind of escape opportunity to a certain extent.”
Craig Gordon, a forecaster for the Utah Avalanche Center, said that many of them have no experience in winter sports, are unfamiliar with the terrain, and lack avalanche rescue equipment.
Gordon said: “No matter how you plan to rebuild in remote areas, make sure to equip, train, predict and get rid of the hazards.”
CNN’s Jennifer Gray and Drew Kann contributed to this report.