There's been considerable written about the gradual warming of the earth's atmosphere and the shrinkinhg of glaciers and mountain snowpack. Now comnes research confirming there is a second man-made pollutant reducing mountain snowpack, directly affecting water supplies for urban areas from Denver to Los Angeles.
Soot from burning fossil fuels darkens the snow and makes it melt more quickly. The research was done at The Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Less snowpack and earlier run-off affects farms, cities and industries across the western U.S. and Canada. Some regions get 75% of their annual water supply from snow melt. This study was focused on the soot effects in the Cascades and Rockies. Past soot studies have focused on its effects in the atmopshere. Now the researchers say they can project the soot effects as it lands on snow turning it darker and encouraging faster and earlier melting.