Over the past few years, Californians saw first-hand the consequences of hotter temperatures and smaller Sierra Nevada snowpack, including low reservoir levels, dying trees, and increased wildfire risk. Now, after a very wet winter, we have brimming reservoirs and a snowpack that is likely to bring flooding when it melts. When it comes to water, the Sierra Nevada has always been a feast-or-famine environment. As global temperatures climb with human emissions of greenhouse gases, how will this change? What is the future of the Sierra Nevada, and what does it mean for us?

Atmospheric scientist Alex Hall, Director of the Center for Climate Science at UCLA, and his research team have set out to understand future impacts of climate change on the mountain landscapes we love—and the snowpack upon which California depends for its water resources. Using innovative techniques to bring global climate model projections to very high spatial resolution, the UCLA team has produced first-of-their-kind projections of future climate that capture the intricate physical processes affecting climate in the Sierra.

In this talk sponsored by the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West, Dr. Hall will present key findings from the study and discuss what they mean for decision-makers, resource managers, and anyone who cares about the fate of California’s iconic mountain range and how its unique ecosystems are fundamentally tied to the future of Southern California.

Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West