April Snowpacks Are Now Dramatically Smaller Across The West

April Snowpacks Are Now Dramatically Smaller Across The West

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April Snowpacks Are Now Dramatically Smaller Across The West

The SWE for watersheds across the west | Image: NRCS/USDA | Cover: Barclay Idsal/UnofficialNetworks

  • California bearing the brunt of the climate change burden
  • Water supplies in danger as droughts worsen

A study completed by a group of researchers from Oregon State University shows that snowpacks across the west are retreating to higher elevations earlier each year thanks to climate change.

Related: Winters With Low Snowfall Cost The Ski Industry $1 Billion [New Report By POW]

The lack of plentiful late season snowpack poses a serious risk to the ski industry and more importantly, municipalities across the west that rely on reservoirs filled by snowmelt for drinking water.

“Over 90% of snow monitoring sites with long records across the western US now show declines.” – Oregon State University

The study began in 2005, when researchers collected baseline data for averages across snotel sites for the western United States. Since that initial data collection, researchers found a dramatic decline in the mass of snowpacks in just the past 10+ years alone. 

Since 1950, the west’s snowpack has decreased 15-30%, depending on location. What’s perhaps more frightening is that 92% of the sites are on a negative, downward trend when it comes to accumulation.

You can find the entire study here: Dramatic declines in snowpack in the western US

 

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