High elevation snowpack refers to of the amount of snow that piles up in the mountains during the winter. It is measured by how much water you would have if you took a column of snow and melted it—the “snow water equivalent” (SWE). In Colorado, human communities and ecosystems alike rely on snowpack to help supply the water we need to survive, and high elevation snowpack also provides critical habitat for wildlife throughout the winter.
Snowpack in the Colorado mountains is measured by the SNOw TELemetry network (SNOTEL). For this indicator, we look at the SWE for Colorado SNOTEL sites measured on April 1st of each year—the time in Colorado when snowpack is usually near its deepest for the winter.
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