Snowpack In Wyoming Melting Earlier

Apr 3, 2015

Credit David Koch

Wyoming’s snowpack is disappearing more than two weeks earlier than it used to. That’s according to NASA, which just wrapped up a study looking at the years 1972 through 2013. The study focused on the Wind River Range and concluded that snowpack is melting 16 days earlier than it did through the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.

Dorothy Hall is a senior scientist with the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and was one of the authors of the study. She says less snowpack can put a strain on resources in the West.  

The snowmelt completion may be earlier and therefore there's less water available for human use or agricultural use later in the summer

"The snowmelt completion may be earlier and therefore there’s less water available for human use or agricultural use later in the summer," says Hall. "Because the more snow you have, the longer the snowmelt period will go on, so it does impact the water resources available in Wyoming."

Hall also says drought combined with warmer night time temperatures are likely to blame for less snowpack in recent years.