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Snow Cover on the Decline in North America

By Climate Central

As the world warms, the overall area of North America covered by snow is decreasing. One reason is that an increasing percentage of winter precipitation is falling as rain instead of snow in many locations. A Climate Central report found that between sea level and 5,000 feet in elevation, a smaller percentage of winter precipitation is falling as snow in the western U.S. The subsequent decline in snowpack affects reservoir levels and irrigation, as the melting snow provides water for the Westin the dry summer months.

Methodology: Data is from Rutgers University Global Snow Lab obtained from NOAA NCEI. Each point represents the average over a year from July - June. Data begins in 1973 as it was the first year with reliable widespread available data.