Snow is great for skiing making Calvin -style snow people, and also for drinking or boiling to make mac and cheese and sausage. what do you think that water came from? The Sierra Nevada mountains in California are beautiful snow-capped peaks at any time of the year. During the October to May rainy season, the Sierras might see as much as 30 feet of snow and they keep at least a little bit even during the summer. But a new study published in Nature climate change found the Sierras have almost no snow pack this year less than the area has seen in more than 500 years actually. Which sounds kind of bad snowpack is what scientists call the total amount of snow and ice on the ground.
According to the National Resources Defense Council the (NRDC) the state's snowpack used to store 15 million acre-feet of water. Put another way the historical average snowpack is about 28 . 3 inches but a survey in April of 2015 found only 1.4 inches. And it's not just bad for skiers and snowboarders most of the precipitation that falls in California comes in the form of mountain snow and that snow melts to then become our drinking. water. water from the sierra snowpack helps generate electricity and provides one-third of all drinking water in California. In fact, sixty-five percent of all water comes from river and stream water. Because snow on mountains can build and build it's a great measure of how much water will be added to the region as the snow melts. As it melts the snow pack refreshes rivers lakes and reservoirs used for irrigation and public water supplies. So, when the snowpack is low rivers lakes and reservoirs are then not replenished and the drought continues or worsens.
The same process works around the country if you turn on a faucet in Seattle the cedar and told rivers come out of your faucet in New York the Delaware River Basin flows out of there the Mississippi River streams out in Minnesota twin cities in Atlanta gets the Chattahoochee and Flint rivers. Here in California, we're getting snow melt from those distance Sierra Mountains. Surface moisture is what keeps us alive and cooking it's the great circle of life. So the implications of a light snow pack are massive we know this is the worst by comparing data, data, data.
Scientists take cores of blue oak trees and compare the Rings to determine which seasons were wet or dry. In winter seasons trees grow as much as they can and but when it's dry growth slows drastically. Researchers compared snowpack measurements taken over the last few decades by satellites and by scientists in the field to ring data from 1500 blue oak trees and found a perfect match! Using these two data sets they found that this is the lightest snowpack in five centuries 500 years. Why? Well we are in a record one in a thousand year drought but that drought has been exacerbated by human effective climate change.
Don't just take my word for it though bio climatologist a park Williams from Columbia University told the new york times even though the chances of a drought like this were extremely unlikely in the past in the future will be more likely to occur because of rising temperatures contributing in the eight to twenty-seven percent drop in soil moisture in California. No soil moisture no tree growth. No snow pack no water for people who live in Cali. Eighty-five percent of United States residents get their water from public utilities replenished are fed by the water cycle. I grew up with well water which is super rare actually but when people can't get water from dried up rivers and streams to add two reservoirs or irrigate their fields they go underground to aquifers!
Earth's surface has pockets of water in it that have trickled down over the eons and we are sucking it out at a rate so fast that it cannot be replenished and the pumping causes the surface to literally drop into the empty space. Some ground water is being pumped down fifty to a hundred feet below previous historical lows according to the California department of water resources. Water is a precious resource even if you live on the lush east coast or in a country where water is easy to come by conserving water is a good habit to get into for now in case a drought hits in the future. California built a whole farming industry in a desert after all you never know what the future is going to bring. Turn the water off when you're doing dishes washing your face or your hands and forgo Bads for short showers. These are good rules to follow even in places that aren't currently affected by drought. Freshwater in the ground lakes and rivers only accounts for one percent of all the water on our planet. So don't waste it.
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