“I’m not saying that there will be no snow in the future, but overall we’ll see this strong reduction projected.” -Katrina Bennett, Hydrologist
A disturbing new scientific study titled “Characterizing Drought Behavior in the Colorado River Basin Using Unsupervised Machine Learning”is predicting Colorado could lose somewhere around 50%-60% of its snow by the year 2080.
“We really saw this shift in minimum streamflow earlier, peak streamflow occurring, indicating lower snowpack in the upper watershed.This increasing aridity signal in lower sort of moisture is an increasing evapotranspiration.” –Katrina Bennett, Hydrologist for the Earth & Environmental Sciences at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico
As a co-author of the scientific article about the projected future of the Colorado River Basin alongside fellow Carl J. Talsma and Velimir V. Vesselinov, Bennett said even after taking into account different scenarios including more precipitation than we are currently experiences the results still end with a lower base snow total for Colorado.
“We had that earlier runoff occurring and then a hotter summer means more water just being evaporated from the land surface, from the reservoirs, from these traditional reservoirs that we used to have that would hold our snowpack, hold our water over the year so we could use it for agriculture and other purposes.”
Bennet concludes the cause is clearly climate change. She believes this research will be a wakeup call to policy makers about the not-so-distant future, especially for economies based around snow like the high country.
“Our snowpacks are likely to be reduced in the future, especially in these high elevation areas where typically we had a lot of snow in the past. So we do need to think about how that will change into the future and how we want to shift our planning for water resources.”
READ FULL“Characterizing Drought Behavior in the Colorado River Basin Using Unsupervised Machine Learning” STUDY HERE