Climate Change Melts Oregon Snowpack

OPB | Nov. 25, 2009 3:36 a.m. | Updated: July 17, 2012 1:09 a.m. | Bend, OR

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By Ethan Lindsey

Oregon State University researchers reported Tuesday that they’ve found a dramatic long-term decrease in the winter snowpack in parts of the state. 

Ethan Lindsey reports.

Rising temperatures have reduced the winter snowpack at a handful of points in the Cascade Mountains.

Geologist Julia Jones says, in fact, in some places, the snowpack has been cut in half in just 77 years.

Julia Jones: “There has been a long-term decline in April snowpack – that is the snow stored during the winter and available to melt when temperatures warm up, but we didn’t see a corresponding decrease in precipitation.”

Jones’ research confirms what scientists have modeled for a while: we will see less snow and more rain.

Julia Jones: “The changes that have occurred over the past 50 years appear to be within what the forests have experienced in their lifetimes, even though we do see climate change effects.”

The research was done for the state-funded Oregon Climate Change Research Institute.

Jones says this report was helped by the treasure trove of research done in the past in these forests.


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