Scientists track melting snowpack in the Sierras

From the San Francisco Chronicle, Nov. 12, 2006

Snowpack image by Dawn Endico from flickr

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Coping with climate change takes sophisticated analytical tools. In the mountain
environments of the West, it also takes mules, shovels and plenty of sweat.

Noah Molotch, a UCLA research scientist, and Paul Kim, an undergraduate at UC
Merced, had no need for their jackets as they broke ground at California’s
latest global warming research site: a stony Sierra hillside a half-hour’s hike
uphill from an old ski lodge in Sequoia National Park.

A pack train loaded with tools and equipment was due in an hour. But daylight
and decent weather are precious at these elevations. Molotch, part of a weekend
work crew of five scientists and student helpers, had come up with Kim ahead of
the mules for an early start building a new kind of mountain observatory — what
may well be the world’s most elaborate snow gauge.

They are installing a unique network of ground sensors, weather gear and
other equipment to measure how much snow and ice build up each winter in the
400-mile Sierra range — and then see where the snowmelt goes. More >>