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Trends in the American West's snowpack

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Climate change is threatening the West's high-country snow. Here's a summary of what the science is telling us.

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Trends in the American West's snowpack

  1. 1. Temperature-driven effects on Western snowpack appear more pronounced at lower elevations Regional time series of snow water equivalent (SWE) to precipitation (P) from historical observations. Source: Pierce et al, 2008.
  2. 2. Snowmelt tends to occur during the latter part of the winter season (April/May) Trends in changes in monthly snow water equivalent values Source: LandScope America Source: Kapnick and Hall, 2012.
  3. 3. With increasing temperatures, snowpack loss may occur earlier in the season Trends in changes in monthly snow water equivalent values Source: Kapnick and Hall, 2012.
  4. 4. Projections suggest a decrease in spring snowpack and more precipitation in the form of rain Source: Ashfaq et al 2013.
  5. 5. In the future, even high elevations may not escape the impacts of rising temperatures Source: Mote, 2006.

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