Please invest in Our Daily Planet today, by making a one time or monthly contribution.
We do not charge our readers a subscription fee for our content. We want to continue to grow our readership, particularly among millennials and public servants. Voluntary contributions from readers will help us employ interns and freelance journalists, expand our content, and reach a larger audience.
Why This Matters: Seven percent may not sound like much. But, in the next few decades, as Borunda noted, “those bookending ‘snow droughts’ could occur 40% of the time.” This rise would be devastating for these regions; as Laurie Huning, a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California Irvine, told Phys.org, “Snow is an important global water resource that plays a vital role in natural processes, agriculture, hydropower and basic socioeconomic conditions of various regions.”
These snow droughts could wreak havoc across the West which relies on snow to keep soils resistant against fires, maintain ecosystems rich in biodiversity, and provide water for millions of people (a threat already apparent in the alarming water loss across the Colorado River which is fed by Rocky Mountain snow).
An Intensifying History: Not only do we now know that snow droughts are going to become more frequent, but recent research has also shown that this problem has been intensifying for a long while. Environmental engineers out of UC Irvine, including Laurie Huning (quoted above), have “developed a new framework for characterizing snow droughts around the world.” What they found was deeply concerning. As Phys.org reported, these researchers discovered a 28% increase in the “length of intensified snow-water deficits in the Western United States during the second half” of the period from 1980 to 2018.
Snow’s Significance: As Borunda wrote, “snow is a secret saviour.” While we may think of snow as auxiliary, it is not for many populations of both people and animals. According to Huning, “Snowmelt provides freshwater to more than a billion people, one sixth of the world’s population.” And, Huning noted, “Water from melting snow irrigates the crops of farming regions including areas that seldom if ever receive any snow during the winter, such as California’s Central Valley.”
Yesterday the Environmental Protection Agency finalized the rollback an Obama-era rule that would have, as the Washington Post reported, forced coal plants to treat wastewater with more modern, effective methods in order to curb toxic metals such as arsenic and mercury from contaminating lakes, rivers, and streams near their facilities. The rollback is in line […]
Why This Matters: Children with elevated levels of lead in their blood are more likely to have learning disabilities and increased behavioral difficulties — it causes irreversible damage to children’s development, according to the report. Lead is unsafe at any level. It’s time to get the lead out of our environment.
Our Daily Planet is your daily dose of the stories shaping our world and the ways that you can take action. From the climate crisis to the protection of biodiversity, if these issues matter to you then please subscribe & stay informed!
Your privacy is Important! We promise never to use your email address to send you spam or advertisements.