Atmospheric Impacts in the Dry Creek Experimental Watershed

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Student Presentation

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Sondra Miller


The goal of this research is to assess the interrelationships between water supply and population growth. Drinking water supplies for the Intermountain West – specifically, southeast Idaho – come from snowmelt. Deposition of atmospheric particulate matter (PM) on snow causes it to darken, absorb more solar energy, and melt sooner. Previous research has studied atmospheric impacts on snowpack at remote or high alpine locations. This study – in the Dry Creek Experimental Watershed located north of Boise, Idaho – is located in a population center, where both local and regional influences affect water quality. Samples were collected during fall 2012 and winter 2013 using wet-dry precipitation collectors. Results show temporal variation in atmospheric PM deposition resulting from meteorological influences and human activities.

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