Snowmelt occurring earlier in N. America

Mar 26, 2006

The U.S. Geological Survey says eastern North America is having snow melt and runoff into rivers earlier than it did in the first half of the 20th century.

The study, published in Geophysical Research Letters, says flows in many rivers in the northern United States and Canada are occurring earlier by 5-10 days.

"We studied rural, unregulated rivers with more than 50 years of USGS and Environment Canada river flow data," said lead researcher Glenn Hodgkins at the USGS Maine Water Science Center.

Most rivers north of 44 degrees north latitude -- roughly from southern Minnesota and Michigan through northern New York and southern Maine -- showed earlier winter-spring streamflows. In contrast, many stations south of this line in Iowa, southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois had later streamflows.

"Some 179 rivers in eastern North America met the criteria of our study with 147 in the United States from the Dakotas to New England and 32 in Canada from Manitoba to Newfoundland," said co-author Robert Dudley. "These rivers are sensitive to changes in precipitation and temperature."

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Don't blink or you might miss the leap second on Tuesday

Related Stories

Ana tightens up and becomes tropical

May 11, 2015

Up until Saturday morning, Ana had been referred to as a subtropical storm, rather than a tropical storm. What's the difference? The difference lies is how the two different storms are "born." Subtropical ...

Recommended for you

What is the habitable zone?

7 hours ago

The weather in your hometown is downright uninhabitable. There's scorching heatwaves, annual tyhpoonic deluges, and snow deep enough to bury a corn silo.

Galaxy survey to probe why the universe is accelerating

7 hours ago

We know that our universe is expanding at an accelerating rate, but what causes this growth remains a mystery. The most likely explanation is that a strange force dubbed "dark energy" is driving it. Now a ...

Early Titan was a cold, hostile place for life

8 hours ago

Titan is a mysterious orange-socked moon of Saturn that is exciting to astrobiologists because it has some of the same kinds of chemicals that were precursors to life on Earth. It also has a hydrological ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.