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Snowpack: Decadal Averages Map

California Energy Commission

This is an interactive map of California and the Sierra Nevada mountains, showing projected variations in water stored in snowpack, from 1950 to 2090, assuming low or high emission scenarios over that period of time. Interactive can be adjusted to show different months of the year and various climate models, graphed by site.

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Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Effects of climate change on water cycle and freshwater availability
About Teaching Principle 7
Other materials addressing 7b
Climate change has consequences
About Teaching Climate Literacy
Other materials addressing Climate change has consequences

Energy Literacy

Environmental quality is impacted by energy choices.
Other materials addressing:
7.3 Environmental quality.

Excellence in Environmental Education Guidelines

2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.1 The Earth as a Physical System:A) Processes that shape the Earth
Other materials addressing:
A) Processes that shape the Earth.

Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • Students could be paired for exploring this visualization and the resources that accompany it.
  • Teachers should prep students re: units, scenarios, etc. to effectively use this resource.
  • The models listed under More Options should be explained/outlined for learners.
  • Other interactive California-based maps to use in conjunction with this one are available at http://cal-adapt.org.

About the Science

  • Students use an animation to visualize the projected change in snow-water equivalence in the state of California. Students can view predicted changes in snow pack by using different models.
  • Comments from expert scientist: Clearly illustrates model predictions of snowpack under different climate change scenarios. Has links to data sources, and explains uncertainty in climate modeling. Although any projection must be a model, the difference between observation and projection could be better emphasized.

About the Pedagogy

  • Very relevant for students in CA since they can choose their local region and see predicted changes in snow pack. Can also be used as a case study.
  • Has a graphing tool to display data. Users will need to access instructions and supporting resources that accompany the visualization to fully understand what the interactive shows and what it implies for California's water supply.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Visualization is more effective when animation is run on "slow" setting.

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