Changes in Snowpack in a Warming World
In the previous interview in this newsletter we discussed with Stuart Pimm the effects of climate change on the biological world. Climate change change is also affecting the inanimate world in many ways: permafrost, glaciers, snowpack, sea level, the patterns and frequency of rain and drought, and the frequency and intensity of hurricanes. Global warming has already shown up in the Pacific Northwest; it has changed the dynamics of low elevation snowpack that supplies water for many parts of the West. In some locations in the West snowpack has declined by more than 50 percent in the last fifty years. This does not mean that Seattle will run out of water, but it does mean that managers throughout the West need to take these changes into account when managing our rivers for the many different demands we put on them. We spoke with Philp Mote about his work describing the recent history of snowpack dynamics in the West.