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NASA: California Tuolumne Snowpack 40 Percent of Worst Year

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avatar NASA: California Tuolumne Snowpack 40 Percent of Worst Year
April 05, 2015 05:16PM
New NASA data find the snowpack in the Tuolumne River Basin in California's Sierra Nevada -- a major source of water for millions of Californians -- currently contains just 40 percent as much water as it did near this time at its highest level of 2014, one of the two driest years in California's recorded history. The data were acquired through a partnership with the California Department of Water Resources, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and the Turlock and Modesto irrigation districts.

In its first springtime acquisition of the year, NASA's Airborne Snow Observatory quantified the total volume of water contained within the Tuolumne River Basin snowpack on March 25. The observatory data revealed that the amount of water in the mountain snowpack on that date was 74,000 acre-feet, or 24 billion gallons. This is about 40 percent of the maximum snow water content the observatory measured near this time last year, which was 179,000 acre-feet. This is the third year of Airborne Snow Observatory operations.

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