Study Finds Winter Is Shrinking in Mountainous Western U.S. — and That Poses New Fire and Water Risks

Nic Enstice, right, and Frank Gehrke, left, Chief of the California Cooperative Snow Surveys Program for the Department of Water Resources, walk through a snow covered field to take a sample of the Sierra snowpack on March 30, 2017 near Twin Bridges. (Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Nic Enstice, right, and Frank Gehrke, left, Chief of the California Cooperative Snow Surveys Program for the Department of Water Resources, walk through a snow covered field to take a sample of the Sierra snowpack on March 30, 2017 near Twin Bridges. (Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Across the mountains of the West, the landscape of winter is changing.

Deep snowpacks that held fast through winter, then melted in a torrent each spring, are instead seeping away earlier in the year. The period of winter weather is shrinking too, with autumn lasting longer and spring starting earlier.

The findings by Amato Evan, a professor of atmospheric and climate science with Scripps Institution of Oceanography, show changes to western hydrology that could jeopardize water resources, flood control, fire management and winter recreation.

His results were published this month in the Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology and presented at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in Washington.

Read the full story on LATimes.com

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