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Snowpack: Decadal Averages Map

California Energy Commission

This is an interactive map of California and the Sierra Nevada mountains, showing how the amount of water stored in the snowpack will vary under different climate scenarios. The tool shows observations and projections from 1950 to 2090, and uses low or high emission scenarios to model future snowpack. The tool can be adjusted to show different months of the year and various climate models, graphed by site.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

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 about units, scenarios, and the difference between observed data and modeled data.
  • The models listed under 'More Options' should be explained for learners.
  • Other interactive California-based maps to use in conjunction with this one are available at http://cal-adapt.org.

About the Content

  • 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.
Entered the Collection: May 2013 Last Reviewed: October 2016

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