California’s snowpack was more than twice the average in much of the state in early March 2023.
Mario Tama/Getty Images
Reservoirs and streams are in good shape in California and the Great Basin, but groundwater and ecosystems are another story. And then there’s the Colorado River Basin.
A series of atmospheric rivers in early 2023 covered the Sierra Nevada in snow.
Mario Tama/Getty Images
Rain falling on deep snow from a series of atmospheric rivers has heightened California’s flood risk. It’s a growing problem as the planet warms.
Following historic drought in 2021, reservoir levels dropped down in the Hoover Dam on the Colorado River, which gets its waters from the melting snowpack from the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and Wyoming.
Unprecedented droughts leave the subsurface drier than usual, affecting water supply in subsequent years.
Fast-moving floodwater obliterated sections of major roads through Yellowstone National Park in 2022.
Jacob W. Frank/National Park Service
Extreme downpours brought deadly flooding to the Appalachian region, just a few weeks after the destructive Yellowstone River flood.
Strict rules guide the official count for how much solid precipitation fell.
Photos by Vesuviante/Moment via Getty Images
It’s hard to get accurate measurements, but a nationwide network of more than 8,000 volunteers with rulers and specific standards reports after every storm.
California has been through two straight year of drought, and water supplies are limited.
George Rose/Getty Images
Long before climate change was evident, California began planning a system of canals and reservoirs to carry water from the mountains to drier farms and cities. It’s no longer enough.
Several of California’s reservoirs were at less than one-third of their capacity in early December 2021.
The State Water Project cut its initial allocations for water agencies to 0% for 2022. A California water expert explains why.
In high alpine terrain, sun and dry air can turn snow straight into water vapor.
As rivers run dry in the Rocky Mountains and the West, it’s easy to wonder where all the snow you see on mountain peaks goes. Some of it ends up in the air, but researchers aren’t sure how much.
Snow melts near the Continental Divide in the Bridger Wilderness Area in Wyoming, part of the Greater Yellowstone Area.
Bryan Shuman/University of Wyoming
The area’s iconic national parks are home to grizzlies, elk and mountain snowfall that feeds some of the country’s most important rivers. A new report show the changes underway as temperatures rise.
Wildfire smoke rises near Prince Albert, Sask., in May 2021, where a fast-moving wildfire led local officials to declare a state of emergency.
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Kayle Neis
Recent wildfire seasons have been worsened by climate change. But wildfires also lead to additional climate warming when they release carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.
Dust affect infrastructures but also human health. Here in Dakar, Senegal, on February 17, 2021, at the beginning of the Harmattan season.
Dust storms are not unusual, but intense ones have a wide range negative impacts upon multiple socioeconomic sectors. How do we address them?
A late snowfall could set back the growth of this budding lilac.
Trees and shrubs in cold-weather climates rely on certain signals, such as temperature and light, to know when to leaf out and bloom. Climate change is scrambling those signals.
‘Tis the season.
Love it or hate it, winter means snow and ice for much of the US. In many places, though, snow is becoming a scarce resource.
A valuable resource: Snowpack on Oregon’s Mt. Hood.
USDA NRCS/Spencer Miller
New research forecasts that climate change will make multiyear stretches with low snow levels more common across western North America – bad news for water managers, farmers, foresters and skiers.
Snowpack protects tree roots and soil from harmful freeze/thaw cycles.
Climate change is shrinking winter snow cover in Northeast forests, which protects tree roots and soil from repeated freezing and thawing. This could stunt tree growth and forest carbon storage.
A blizzard in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, in 2005.
Governments and private companies have been seeding clouds to create snow for decades, without proof that it actually works. A recent study peered into clouds in search of answers.
Comparison of Sierra Nevada snowpack in 2015 v 2010.
According to scientists, tree-ring analysis shows that California drought is the worst it has been in 500 years.The study underscores the severity of current drought and the challenges of future water management in the state.