Jan 9, 2009 | 3
The heavy snowfall in Western states that's been good news for skiers has come with a price: an unusual number of avalanche-related deaths on resort mountains.
Twelve people have died in U.S. avalanches since mid-December, and 10 in Canada, according to statistics kept by avalanche information centers. In the U.S., three of those deaths were "in bound" (within established ski trails) in Utah, Wyoming and California. That's the most in-bound fatalities since 1976, when three skiers at Lake Tahoe's Alpine Meadows resort perished in an avalanche, the New York Times reports today.
Sep 30, 2008 | 3
NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander, having already uncovered water ice in the soil of the Red Planet's northern polar plains, has now spotted another sight familiar to those of us who dwell in the higher latitude climes back on Earth: falling snow.
Using lidar (analogous to radar, with pulses of laser light standing in for radio waves), Phoenix picked up signs of snow drifting down from clouds some 2.5 miles (four kilometers) overhead. It has not been seen reaching the Martian surface; it appears to vaporize before landfall.
"Nothing like this view has ever been seen on Mars," James Whiteway of York University in Toronto said in a statement. Whiteway is lead scientist for Phoenix's Meteorological Station (MET), the Canadian Space Agency's contribution to the mission. He added that the MET team will now seek to discover "signs that the snow may even reach the ground."
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