Nov 16

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Snowpack Declines in the Rocky Mountains

There’s a downside to those early, “unseasonably” warm spring days.


photo by Jacob W. Frank, NPS.gov

Transcript of the Audio Podcast:

Most of us cherish warm spring days, but there’s a downside… on this Currentcast.
When it comes to fresh water, high mountain areas act as reservoirs – holding water in the form of winter snow, and then slowly releasing it in spring and summer to the thirsty cities and farms below.

But climate change is disrupting this system. Greg Pederson, a researcher with the U.S. Geological Survey, says rising spring temperatures in the Rocky Mountains are causing the snowpack to melt earlier.

Pederson: “And resulting in, basically, a set-up where later in the summer, when we need that water most, it’s already left the system.”

That leaves cities struggling to prioritize water use.

Pederson: “The traditional ways we’ve done business and managed water are changing and are going to need to change a lot more for the future.”

Support for CurrentCast comes from the Mitsubishi Corporation Foundation for the Americas. Learn more online at CurrentCast.org.


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Photo by Ben Hoppe / NPS.gov


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