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Global warming: Big changes projected for snowpack in low-elevation coastal mountain ranges

 Provided by the SeaWiFS Project, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, and ORBIMAGE

Low elevation coastal ranges could see dramatic snowpack changes in the next few decades as global temperatures continue to rise. Satellite image by the SeaWiFS Project, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, and ORBIMAGE.

Summer river flows will decrease as winter snowpack shrinks

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Low elevation maritime snowpacks around the world could be hit especially hard by global warming, according to scientists with Oregon State University, who are projecting a 56 percent decline in the amount of water stored in peak snowpack in the McKenzie River watershed of the Oregon Cascade Range.

The projections are based on a projected 3.6 degree Fahrenheit temperature increase, and highlight the special risks facing many low-elevation, mountainous regions where snow often falls near the freezing point. In such areas, just a modest temperature increase means the difference between snow and rain.

Winter snowpack in the Cascade Range provides much of the water for the populous Willamette Valley, significant changes in the hydrological regime could have significant social, environmental and economic implications, especially in summer when water demands peak. Continue reading

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