Record snowpack in the Sierra Nevada mountains •

Record snowpack in the Sierra Nevada mountains

Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features a historic amount of snow in the Sierra Nevada mountains along the eastern edge of California. 

“After three years of busts, 2023 was a boom year for snow in the Sierra Nevada. Precipitation from a deluge of atmospheric rivers blanketed the California mountain range with a historic amount of snow,” explains NASA.

“Many parts of central California received 200 percent or more of expected precipitation this water year, which started on October 1. Eleven moderate-strength atmospheric rivers hit the southern Sierra Nevada this year, which is twice the average number. Precipitation from these storms contributed to a breach of the Los Angeles Aqueduct, the re-emergence of Tulare Lake in the San Joaquin River Valley, and heaps of snow on the range.”

Noah Molotch, a mountain hydrologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, noted that not only was this a wet year, but it was also unusually cold. “This has contributed to an anomalously high snowpack in both the southern Sierra Nevada Mountains and at lower elevations along the range.”

The image was captured on April 6, 2023 by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite.

Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory

By Chrissy Sexton, Editor

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