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The Future of Forecasting Water Availability


The bulk of the water supply for the western United States comes in the form of snow. Therefore measuring snowpack and estimating how much water it will melt into is vital for water managers downstream and for researchers trying to track snowfall changes over time. Much of the measurement happens on the ground with SNOTEL sites, but increasingly, data is being gathered from satellites. For Connecting the Drops, our statewide series on water, Maeve Conran reports.  




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Pair Sound with Sight 

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Brian Domonkos monitors the data transmitted by SNOTEL sites around Colorado at the Natural Resources Conservation Service office in Denver. Credit: Maeve Conran
A view from the SnowEx flight over Grand Mesa Colorado. The sensors being tested on the plane will end up on the future NASA snow satellite. Credit: NASA
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 The SNOTEL site near Lake Irene near the headwaters of the Colorado River in Rocky Mountain National Park is surrounded by trees, some of which are dead due to beetle kill. This can cause problems for the SNOTEL site as less tree canopy can lead to more wind and falling trees can damage equipment. Credit: Maeve Conran
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 Jeff Deems, a research scientist with the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the SNOTEL site at Lake Irene. Credit: Maeve Conran


Connecting the Drops Partners

Connecting the Drops is a radio collaboration between Water Education Colorado and Colorado Community Radio Stations KGNU, KDNK and KRCC.


 Support for 2017 programming comes from CoBank

1750 Humboldt Street, Suite 200
Denver, CO 80218