When it comes to the weather, it’s a safe bet that plenty of eyes have been on California recently — even if observers aren’t in the Golden State. The drought that’s plagued it is a pretty big cause for concern, with plenty of repercussions in the midst. But when it comes to the environment, there may be other issues worth taking note of. Case in point: the state’s snow-capped peaks aren’t quite so snow-capped anymore.
The Sierra Nevada is a fixture of the Californian landscape, and the snow that accumulates on the mountain range functions as a natural water reserve. But the amount of snow there now is at its lowest point in centuries thanks to a severe lack of precipitation — and the precipitation it does receive is easily-lost rain instead of the snow it desperately needs. Given how much water the mountains’ snow can contribute to California’s reservoirs, it’s not hard to imagine that a dry Sierra Nevada could make a bad situation worse.
Thankfully, there is a chance for relief. Current forecasts suggest that El Niño is going to be especially strong this year and potentially bring more precipitation; on top of that, a cold enough winter could bring back the snow. Time will tell if it cures what ails California, but one can only hope.