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Layer: Climate Change Threat (Snowpack Decline) (ID: 111)

Parent Layer: Threats

Name: Climate Change Threat (Snowpack Decline)

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Description: Under future climate change scenario all global climate change (GCM) predict substantial increases in temperature. In fact recent studies have document that temperatures have been increasing across California throughout the last century (citation). A direct effect from a warming climate is the expected reduction in snowpack. A reduction in snowpack will have dramatic changes for Sierra watersheds that serve as a natural reservoir that supports the State's water supply. Changes in snowpack were evaluated using data from the GFDL climate model. The GFDL model predicts changes in climate based on range of future emissions scenarios that were established by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC's) Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES). For this study the moderately high A2 emissions scenario was used. This scenario assumes that emissions continue to rise unabated at rate that is roughly four times the present rate of emissions (Cayan, 2006). Snowpack was interpreted base on Snow Water Equivalent (SWE). SWE represents the amount of water contained in the snowpack. The rate of change in SWE was used to evaluate the expected decline in future snowpack.

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