A scientist dredges up 10,000-year-old silt from the bottom of an alpine lake. A lovable hermit known as the Snow Guardian, meticulously records weather data at his remote Colorado cabin. A Wyoming rancher raises cattle sustainably with water conservation in mind. By analyzing the data from these different sources, climate scientist and skier Jane Zelikova hopes to better understand the dwindling Western snowpack and how people can adapt to a future without snow. And because the Rocky Mountain West depends on snow for recreation, water and food — and is increasingly plagued by wildfires and droughts — this important research comes not a moment too soon.
- Morgan Heim