Some new climate change converts:
Blake Freking, a musher who trains Siberian huskies on the north shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota, said he planned to compete in the Beargrease race in January. “With global warming, it’s hard to deny that there are some big changes going on right now,” he said. “We’re in it. It isn’t looking good.”During last year’s snow season, defined as July 1, 2011, to June 30, 2012, Anchorage had 134.5 inches of snow, according to Jake Crouch, a climate scientist with the National Climatic Data Center. This season’s tally in Anchorage was 39.2 inches, through Wednesday. North of Fairbanks, another area where mushers train, snowpack is 21 percent of average.“This is a pretty big deal,” said Crouch, who is among the climate experts who attribute the conditions to global warming. He said climate change had resulted in warmer temperatures for Alaska over the last century.“One of the things we’re seeing with climate change is that the high latitudes are experiencing the brunt of it,” he said. “They’re very vulnerable.”Mushing in Alaska originated with Native American settlers and pioneers who traversed the chilly landmass using dog sleds out of necessity. Canine-powered transit was a practical option for transporting fur, medicine, freight, mail and passengers in the snow. Even as airplane travel diverted much from mushers’ daily business, the culture endured along with the Iditarod trail, which stretches about 1,000 miles from Anchorage to Nome.“It definitely has us concerned,” Erin McLarnon, a musher and spokeswoman for the Iditarod, said of the long-term effects of the weather. She is among the mushers breeding dogs with thinner coats, more suitable for warmer weather. [More]
When I was in Green Bay recently, a snowmobiler told me if it weren't for mud races, they wouldn't be getting much time in the saddle.
Do they do that?