Contact: Elizabeth K. Gardner
Caption: The figure shows projected future changes in the timing of runoff in snow-dominated areas of the western United States. The timing of runoff shifts earlier in almost all areas as greenhouse gas concentrations increase. These snow-dominated areas currently act as natural reservoirs, with melting in the spring and summer providing critical fresh water throughout the western United States. A shift to earlier runoff could pose challenges for human consumption, agriculture, wildfire management and sensitive ecosystems.
Credit: Purdue University image/Diffenbaugh Laboratory
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Related news release: Study: Future snowmelt in West twice as early as expected; threatens ecosystems and water reserves