Region could lose 30 percent of the snowpack it relies on for irrigation and drinking water—and potentially as much as 60 percent—over the next 30 years
Losses ahead could put farms, energy and drinking water at risk, a new study suggests
By Bob Berwyn, InsideClimate News Apr 27, 2017
The American West has already lost between 10 and 20 percent of its mountain snowpack since the early 1980s, and climate change is partly to blame, new research shows. If greenhouse gas emissions are not curtailed, the region could lose 30 percent of the snowpack it relies on for irrigation and drinking water—and potentially as much as 60 percent—over the next 30 years, the authors write.
The loss can’t be explained by natural climate variations alone, however it is consistent with model simulations that include both natural and human-caused changes, the study says. “These results add to the evidence of a human influence on climate that will have severe impacts on our water supply,” said Benjamin Santer, a Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory climate scientist and a co-author of the paper, published last week in Nature Communications….