Snow Projections Developed to Inform Wolverine Conservation


The study evaluated the future persistence of springtime snowpack at elevations of observed and potential denning for two study areas in the Rocky Mountains.

The rapid rise of temperatures across the western United States poses a threat to snow-adapted plants and animals living there, but a key question has not been well resolved by climate models: How long--and where--will mountain snows remain?

A new, fine-scale modeling approach developed by NOAA and CIRES scientists now projects that there will still be enough high-elevation snow by the middle of the 21st Century to support--according to federal biologists--the denning habits of one iconic North American mountain-dweller, the wolverine. Results of the study were published today in the journal Earth’s Future.

The research was done between 2015 and 2019 at the request of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), which is expected to issue a determination soon on whether wolverine in the lower 48 states deserve protection under the Endangered Species Act.

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