Seen from space: not much snow in California compared to last ye - Tucson News Now

Seen from space: not much snow in California compared to last year

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Portions of this story are from NASA Earth Observatory.

2013 was the driest year on record for California and the start of 2014 is shaping up much the same.  

There is very little snow building up on the Sierra Nevada Mountain range this month, where snow levels are running only 10% to 30% of the average.  

Below are two images taken from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Terra satellite showing a portion of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  

The top image was captured on January 18, 2014, and the bottom image is from the same day last year. 

Notice the difference last year compared to this year. 

There is very little snow on the mountains this year.  

This is problematic because about a third of California's water supply is from snowmelt in this area. 

The ongoing drought and lack of moisture is affecting the vegetation. 

This impact can be seen from space.  

NASA Earth Observatory says "In 2013—a year into the drought—the central valley was green with growing crops. The coastal hills were also green from winter rain. In 2014, everything west of the forested mountains is brown. Even irrigated agriculture in the center of the state appears to be limited compared to 2013."

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