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Warming to Blame for Water Crisis in U.S. West?
Warming to Blame for Water Crisis in U.S. West? willy
willy on Friday, June 10, 2011
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Much of the U.S. West's water supply is under threat as rapidly warming temperatures melt more snowpack annually than is created by precipitation, a new government study suggests.

Each spring, melted snow and ice from the Rocky Mountains recharge up to 80 percent of the Columbia, Missouri, and Colorado River Basins.

Together, these basins form the primary water source for nearly 70 million people in an area plagued by droughts—ncluding Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Salt Lake City. (See an interactive map of the Colorado River Basin to learn more about continued drought in the West.)

The new study, by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), appears to confirm a key source of the droughts: Snowpack has been disappearing over the past several decades.

What's more, 60 percent of the decline is due to greenhouse gas-induced warming, the researchers conclude.
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