Recent Sierra storms have helped to build up California’s snowpack after a very slow start this winter. According to data published on the Department of Water Resources’ California Data Exchange Center, the statewide snowpack is now at 42% of the average for the date. On Jan. 1, the water content in the snow was just 28% of the average.
Congressman Josh Harder Thursday stood near ground zero of where the fluctuating snowpack in the Sierra can cause serious problems when it is too little and when it is too much. Harder was at the San Joaquin National Wildlife Refuge that extends to the Stanislaus River just 10 miles south of Manteca. He was there to get an update on efforts to eradicate large invasive swap rodents known as nutrias that can seriously damage vegetation and levees.
This winter produced record snowfall in California, but a new study suggests the state should expect gradually declining snowpacks, even if punctuated with occasional epic snowfalls, in the future.
An analysis by Tamara Shulgina, Alexander Gershunov, and other climate scientists at UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography suggest that in the face of unabated global warming, the snowlines marking where rainfall turns to snow have been rising significantly over the past 70 years.
New numbers continue to show California Sierra snowpack is dropping along with the state’s groundwater but why is that important? Check out this image below and you’ll see all of the ways we use snowpack.
That Spring snowmelt not only fills our streams, reservoirs and lakes, we also use it for agriculture, household, ecology and hydropower. In total providing one-third of the state’s water supply.