New NOAA-Princeton research suggests that annual snowmelt in the American West can be predicted to the scale of a mountain range as early as March — some eight months before winter begins. The research has the potential to improve water-related decisions for numerous sectors, including agriculture, tourism and fire-control. First author Sarah Kapnick '04, a physical scientist at GFDL, started this work in 2013 as an AOS postdoc. Co-authors on the paper include Xiaosong Yang (GFDL), AOS Faculty Member Gabe Vecchi, Tom Delworth (GFDL), Rich Gudgel (GFDL), Sergey Malyshev (GFDL), P.C.D. "Chris" Milly '78, a senior scientist at the U.S. Geological Survey, Elena Shevliakova (GFDL/PEI), Seth Underwood (GFDL), and Steven Margulis (University of California, Los Angeles). The paper was published online Jan. 22 (link is external) by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.