If you were hoping for good news about California's drought, you certainly won't find it in these pictures, which also hint at a much bigger problem coming down the pipeline.


NASA's Earth Observatory released these two shots of the Sierra Nevadas, one taken last week and the other taken at the same time five years ago, and the difference is dramatic. Lest you think the problem is isolated to just that peak, they also noted that of the 123 mountains in California that are usually still full of snow this time of year a full 88 are completely empty.

Why is that such a big problem? Because typically, 70% of all the precipitation that California gets in a year is due not to rain, but to snow.


As that mountain snow melts, it trickles down to fill up streams, rivers, and groundwater reservoirs for the warmer seasons. With so little snow to melt, California may be facing our driest summer yet.

Images: Jesse Allen / NASA Earth Observatory

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