Forest fires in late snowpack areas have a negative impact on water flow

  • 28.09.2022

A team of researchers at Colorado State University has found that forest fires over the past several decades are having a detrimental impact on late snowpack areas in mountainous regions. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group compares late snowpack melt over the years 1984 to 2020 in the Pacific Northwest

Late snowpack in the mountains is snow on the ground that persists until late into spring in high altitude areas. Prior to the advent of global warming and increased forest fires, late snowpack would persist until well into the spring months due to cold temperatures at high altitudes. And then it would suddenly warm, quickly melting the snow and sending water down the mountain into streams and eventually to rivers. That increase in river water levels has come to be used for a variety of purposes, from growing crops to energy production. Animals also have become reliant on the water. But now it seems that in many places in the Rocky Mountains, things are changing. And it is all due to global warming.