A LETTER FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Hello! As summer fades into fall we are (finally!)…
A new perspective on hydrologic sensitivity to climate change has broad implications for water resources and ecosystems.
“Mountain snowpacks act as natural water towers, storing winter precipitation until summer months when downstream water demand is greatest. We introduce a Snow Storage Index (SSI), representing the temporal phase difference between daily precipitation and surface water inputs—sum of rainfall and snowmelt into terrestrial systems—weighted by relative magnitudes. Different from snow water equivalent or snow fraction, the SSI represents the degree to which the snowpack delays the timing and magnitude of surface water inputs relative to precipitation, a fundamental component of how snow water storage influences the hydrologic cycle. In western North America, annual SSI has decreased (p < 0.05) from 1950–2013 in over 25% of mountainous areas, as a result of substantially earlier snowmelt and rainfall in spring months, with additional declines in winter precipitation. The SSI and associated trends offer a new perspective on hydrologic sensitivity to climate change which have broad implications for water resources and ecosystems.”
Read the complete study here.