Study Says California’s 2023 Snowy Rescue From Megadrought Was a Freak Event. Don’t Get Used to It

Abi Cohen2024

Three researchers stand along a ladder in a nearly 18 foot deep snow pit
Working inside a nearly 18-foot-deep snow pit at the UC Berkeley Central Sierra Snow Lab, from left, Shaun Joseph, Claudia Norman, Helena Middleton take measurements of snow temperatures ahead of a weather storm on March 9, 2023, in Soda Springs, California. Credit: Karl Mondon, Bay Area News Group via AP

A study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences warns that the 2023 snow deluge that ended California’s megadrought was a rare event, unlikely to occur frequently due to climate change. The study authors coined the term “snow deluge” for one-in-20-year heavy snowfalls, when it’s cold and wet enough to maintain a deep snowpack through April 1.  The study found that as the climate warms, there still will be years with snow deluges but they will be far lighter than now if greenhouse gas emissions aren’t rapidly reduced. RCEI Affiliate, David Robinson emphasizes the need to cherish freshwater resources, as these exceptional snowfall events are expected to become even scarcer in the warming world.

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