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Jun 11, 2011 8:40 PM by Matt Stafford

Studies show less snowpack in the Rockies for the last 30 years

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) - A new federal study suggests the snowpack declines in the Rocky Mountains in the last 30 years are greater than in the past few centuries.

That could strain cities whose water supplies are tied to mountain snow.

The U.S. Geological Survey says historically, the northern Rockies have had large snowpacks when the southern Rockies had meager ones and vice versa. But since the 1980s, there have been drops in snowpack along the entire Rockies and unusually severe declines in the north.

The USGS says deep snowpack in the northern Rockies this year are "only a small blip" in a century-long snowpack decline.

Previous studies by the USGS and others have said unusual springtime warming, more precipitation falling as rain instead of snow and earlier snowmelt have contributed to snowpack declines.

 

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