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How global warming leads to slower snowmelt—and why that’s a problem

It may sound counterintuitive, but warming climates could lead to slower snowmelt, according to a new study in Nature Climate Change. This is because less snow built up on the ground means snow is melting earlier in the season at a slower rate, instead of lasting until summer when high heat causes snowpacks to melt rapidly, writes New Scientist. And slower trickles of melting snow are more likely to evaporate compared with larger flows that reach streams and aqueducts. This could mean bad news for the western United States, which relies on melting snowpack as a critical source of water.

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