Predicting Snowpack in the West before the First Flake Falls

Wednesday, Jan 24, 2018

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.

Read more