Update: Decline of Western snowpack is real

The Extinction Chronicles

Data confirms climate model predictions of less snow that melts earlier in the season.

Natural Resources Conservation Service employees gather snow survey data from the Absaroka Mountains in Wyoming.

BACKSTORY

More than 700 SNOTEL telemetry stations —   run by the federal government — sit in high-mountain watersheds in 13 Western states, delivering vital data about water supply (“Taking water’s measure,” HCN, 6/13/16). Climate models using SNOTEL data predict a decline in Western snowpack, with earlier melting in spring – together increasing the risk of floods, droughts and severe wildfires.

FOLLOWUP

In December, University of Arizona researchers presented new on-the-ground findings supporting these predictions. Using SNOTEL data and other tools, the scientists laid out a grid of squares, 2.5 mile on a side…

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