17 Oct 2014
Snow is a vital resource for a host of natural and human systems. Global warming is projected to drive widespread decreases in snow accumulation by the end of the century, potentially affecting water, food, and energy supplies, seasonal heat extremes, and wildfire risk. However, over the next few decades, when the planning and implementation of current adaptation responses are most relevant, the snow response is more uncertain, largely because of uncertainty in regional and local precipitation trends. We identify the range of this "irreducible" uncertainty, which is critical to planning and implementing adaptations to near term snow change. Our results suggest that the direction of near-term snow accumulation change is robust at the regional scale, but that internal variability can influence the magnitude and direction of snow accumulation changes at the local scale, even in areas that exhibit a high signal-to-noise ratio. Read more here.