“I’m melting! I’m Melting!”

Phil Mote and colleagues have a paper in the latest Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society updating their work on western snowpack and climate change. Bottom line – the snow’s melting:

The largest decreases have occurred where winter temperatures are mild, especially in the Cascade Mountains and northern California. In most mountain ranges, relative declines grow from minimal at ridgetop to substantial at snow line. Taken together, these results emphasize that the West’s snow resources are already declining as earth’s climate warms.

They don’t have snow records back real far, so the results get a bit tangled up in the PDO and other decadal-scale patterns. But it seems pretty clear that as things get warmer, the snowpack patterns are changing. This is important in a region that depends on winter snowpack as a water storage mechanism to meet summer water usage needs.

More here.