How much has Western US snowpack changed?

The Bloomberg article The End of Snow Threatens to Upend 76 Million American Lives by Baker et. el. (8/3/2022) has some excellent graphs, such as the one copied here, and overview of the water issues in the west.

The West’s mountain snowpacks have shrunk, on average, 23% between 1955 and 2022. By the end of the 21st century, California could lose as much as 79% of its peak snowpack by water volume.

This impacts all of the US:

The California Rice Commission says only about half of the 500,000 acres of rice typically planted in the state will be grown this year.

California alone accounts for a third of all vegetables grown in the US and two-thirds of the nation’s fruits and nuts.

The article includes a map of CA with charts of current reservoir levels as well as a couple of then and now photos. The data seems to come from the California Data Exchange Center.

About Thomas J. Pfaff

Thomas J. Pfaff is a Professor of Mathematics at Ithaca College. He created this website because he believes that sustainability, ranging from climate change to social justice, should be included in all courses whenever possible.

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