We Hypothesize:

Seasonal changes in snowpack have a profound influence on the energetics and population dynamics of wildlife that reside in snowcovered regions. Substantial uncertainty remains in understanding key processes that drive the life cycle of snow in regions with sparse meteorology and complex terrain. This uncertainty greatly impedes our understanding of how snowpack characteristics impact wildlife populations, making impacts of climate change difficult to accurately predict. The overarching goal of our study is to address the coupled question: What are the key factors driving snow accumulation and ablation during shoulder seasons, and which snow properties are most important for wildlife applications? To address this question, we are partnering with Wildlife Biologist Laura Prugh from the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences at the University of Washington and with Snow Assimilation Specialist Mike Durand from Ohio State University to determine how we can best use snow measurements from space to predict snow factors important to wildlife.