WATER RESOURCES

Managing an unwelcome effect

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Science  07 Dec 2018:
Vol. 362, Issue 6419, pp. 1125-1126
DOI: 10.1126/science.362.6419.1125-c

Climate change will have a large impact on the timing and size of the Sierra Nevada snowpack.

PHOTO: ISTOCK.COM/SIERRARAT

One of the biggest challenges presented by climate change is water resource management. In the western United States, the storage and release of water by the mountain snowpack is a critical component controlling the summertime flow of headwaters of California's major reservoirs. Rhoades et al. describe how mountain snowpacks will be affected by climate change in that region and how that can be expected to influence peak water volume, peak timing, accumulation rate, and melt rate of water discharge. Among other effects, they project that by the end of the century, peak snowpack timing will occur 4 weeks earlier and peak water volume will be 80% lower under a high–greenhouse gas–emissions scenario.

Geophys. Res. Lett. 10.1029/2018GL080308 (2018).

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