Snowline Recedance Expected with Global Warming
Warmer temperatures mean less snow, and thus less snow melt, to provide water supplies evenly throughout the summer. Our mountain snowpacks are New Mexico’s biggest “reservoirs.”
Global warming is expected to result in more frequent and severe droughts in the southwest. It is also expected to result in greater evaporation from lakes, reservoirs, soils and plants; less runoff and more soil drought for a given amount of precipitation; smaller mountain snowpacks; earlier snowmelt; and reduced groundwater recharge. The graphic below shows that the snowline (the level at which snow falls) will go higher into the mountains, reducing the amount of snowpack available to recharge our reservoirs.