U.S. climate report forecasts shrinking snowpacks
Nov 6, 2017 at 8:20am
Don Jenkins, Capital Press
The National Climate Assessment projects snowpacks in Oregon, Idaho, Washington and California will be much smaller by 2050.
Snowpacks in Oregon, Idaho, Washington and California and are expected be much smaller by mid-century if greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, according to federal projections released Friday.
The Fourth National Climate Assessment, completed once every four years, asserts that the mild winter of 2014-15 may have foreshadowed the future.
The highly anticipated assessment, written by government and university scientists, reports that average temperatures globally and in the U.S. have risen by 1.8 degrees since 1885. The report concludes that it’s “extremely likely” human-released greenhouse gases are the main cause.
In the Northwest — Oregon, Idaho and Washington — average temperatures are projected to rise by mid-century by 3.66 to 4.67 degrees, depending on different levels of carbon emissions. Temperatures in California and five other southwest states are projected to rise by 3.72 to 4.80 degrees.
As winter temperatures increase, the percentage of precipitation that falls as snow will decrease. The snow that does stick will melt earlier in the spring, potentially disrupting water-management practices, according to the assessment.
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