Title

The Importance of Snowpack to Water Availability in the Western United States

Faculty Mentor

Richard Orndorff

Document Type

Poster

Start Date

10-5-2023 9:00 AM

End Date

10-5-2023 10:45 AM

Location

PUB NCR

Department

Geology

Abstract

Snowfall and snowpack are key components of the hydrologic system, and snowpack is a cornerstone water source in the western United States. It has the potential to greatly impact water availability for millions of Americans. In mountainous states like California, snowpack is carefully monitored throughout winter and spring, and snowpack depth is used to predict summer streamflow. Despite seeing some expected increases in global temperatures thought to be associated with climate change, recent trends of snowpack decline in the West have been less severe than anticipated, with some regions experiencing short-term increases in winter snowpack. However, this unexpected stability may not be cause for celebration, for it is uncertain how long it will last. As John Wesley Powell once famously noted, "If it be true... the fact is not cheering... [As] any sudden great change [of climate] is ephemeral, and usually such changes go in cycles and the opposite or compensating change may reasonably be anticipated."

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May 10th, 9:00 AM May 10th, 10:45 AM

The Importance of Snowpack to Water Availability in the Western United States

PUB NCR

Snowfall and snowpack are key components of the hydrologic system, and snowpack is a cornerstone water source in the western United States. It has the potential to greatly impact water availability for millions of Americans. In mountainous states like California, snowpack is carefully monitored throughout winter and spring, and snowpack depth is used to predict summer streamflow. Despite seeing some expected increases in global temperatures thought to be associated with climate change, recent trends of snowpack decline in the West have been less severe than anticipated, with some regions experiencing short-term increases in winter snowpack. However, this unexpected stability may not be cause for celebration, for it is uncertain how long it will last. As John Wesley Powell once famously noted, "If it be true... the fact is not cheering... [As] any sudden great change [of climate] is ephemeral, and usually such changes go in cycles and the opposite or compensating change may reasonably be anticipated."