FRISCO — Since the 1980s, warmer spring temperatures in the Rocky Mountain region have been melting the snowpack earlier, with increasing temperatures tabbed as the main factor in the decline, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
The agency carefully tracks streamflows and snowpack measurements, with decades of data now showing clear trends toward shorter winters, earlier spring runoff and an overall 20 percent shrinkage of the snowpack in the mountains of the western U.S.
The researchers say at least part of the changes are due to global warming caused by heat-trapping greenhouse gases, but that natural variability is also a factor. Regardless of the exact cause, the snowpack decline is already causing major headaches for water managers in the region facing dwindling supplies and increased demand.
Study even finds trace remnants of DDT, banned 40 years ago
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Frogs in remote Sierra Nevada backcountry ponds are contaminated with traces of pesticides, including a byproduct of DDT, which was banned more than 40 years ago, showing how long some pollutants can persist in the environment.
FRISCO —The U.S. Geological Survey could use some help in adding more detail to to the National Map database, so the agency is expanding its crowd-sourcing of geographic data and is seeking more volunteers to contribute structures information to 16 more states.
FRISCO — With many rivers in the western part of the U.S. already tapped out, the pressure on groundwater resources has been increasing, as shown by new U.S. Geological Survey research documenting accelerating depletion of aquifers around the country.
Groundwater depletion in the U.S. was so extensive between 2000 and 2008 that it accounts for 2 percent of the total observed sea level rise during that period, as the water ends up in the ocean as part of the hydrological cycle rather than remaining locked away underground.
Since 1900, the total amount of water depleted from aquifers was equal to more than twice the volume of water in Lake Erie.
Essentially, the country is frittering away its water savings faster than ever, with no idea how to replace them, or what to do when they’re gone.
Drop linked primarily with warmer spring temperatures
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Long-time skiers often say that skiing was better in the good old days, and new research from the U.S. Geological Survey suggests that those claims are based on more than nostalgia — notwithstanding the occasional bumper crop of powder like in 2010-2011.
More cuts possible for critical stream monitoring efforts
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — It’s hard enough to make water management decisions if you have all the information at your fingertips, but the job is about to get even more difficult for resource managers.
The U.S.Geological Survey recently announce it will discontinue operation of up to 375 streamgages nationwide due to budget cuts as a result of sequestration. Additional streamgages may be affected if partners reduce their funding to support USGS streamgages.