Noah Molotch looks at snowpack data for Colorado on his laptop.

LogOn: Satellites, lasers help estimate snowpack in drought-stricken regions (VOA)

Dec. 27, 2023

Video interview with Noah Molotch about how remote sensing technology is helping forecast water availability in the Rocky Mountains. Watch this two-minute, well-edited interview, interspersed with clips of fieldwork and explanatory illustrations.

Noah Molotch speaks in front of a large satellite image of snow cover in California.

Californie, quand l'impensable se produit (Radio-Canada)

Dec. 9, 2023

If there's a place that embodies climate extremes and their impacts on agriculture, it may be California. After years of drought, last spring devastating floods hit the state of the West Coast. Noah Molotch weighs in on the hydrology. (French language broadcast.)

A 16-by-16-inch piece consisting of frozen India ink, paper and thread. Created by Colorado artist Hannah Taylor in collaboration with CU Boulder scientist Noah Molotch, the frozen ink wash papers represent a community defined by snow.

Colorado artist, CU Boulder scientist band together to spotlight Dillon Reservoir and the state’s water issues (Summit Daily)

June 26, 2023

Their collaborative art piece, part of a CU Boulder-sponsored exhibit, is one of several hanging in the Colorado State Capitol building.

Lines divide Sierra Nevada watersheds. Average is a modeled estimate for years 2000-2021. Figure by Leanne Lestak and Noah Molotch.

Scientists take flight to map California’s vast snowpack and measure flooding threats (L.A. Times)

May 26, 2023

Noah Molotch is quoted in this Los Angeles Times article about mapping the recent historic snowpack in California using laser pulses and spectrometers from the air. The flights are collecting data to estimate when and how fast the snow will melt, helping officials prepare for the runoff, manage water releases from dams, and asses areas at risk of flooding.

CU Boulder researchers collect snow measurements near the Continental Divide in Colorado for the snow survey last May. Photo by Kate Hale.

Earlier snowpack melt in the West could bring summer water scarcity (CU Boulder Today)

May 25, 2023

Snow is melting earlier, and more rain is falling instead of snow in the mountain ranges of the Western U.S. and Canada, leading to a leaner snowpack that could impact agriculture, wildfire risk and municipal water supplies come summer, according to a new CU Boulder analysis. Kate Hale and Noah Molotch are authors on the study.

Holly Barnard and artist Jocelyn Catterson an artwork by Catterson in the Lieutenant Governor's office at the Colorado State Capitol building.

Art and climate science converge in new exhibit at the Colorado Capitol (KUNC)

May 24, 2023

An exhibit that just opened in the Colorado capitol building's rotunda features artwork made in the process of partnerships between artists from around Colorado, their communities, and CU Boulder scientists. Called “Coloradans and our Shared Environment in Times of Challenge and Change,” the art grapples with the climate and environmental challenges that are part of Coloradoans' lives: drought, decreasing groundwater, acid mine drainage, wildfire, pine beetle tree mortality, and more.

A mixed-media artwork by Jocelyn Catterson explores groundwater in the San Luis Valley, reflecting a partnership with INSTAAR Holly Barnard.

Coloradoans and our shared environment in times of challenge and change (CU OOE)

May 18, 2023

A collaborative exhibition tells the story of how Coloradans are experiencing interrelated challenges of fire, drought, and water and air quality in their communities. Artists (the CASE Fellows) partnered with scientists and communities to make visible the connections between Coloradans and their environment. Several INSTAARs acted as scientist partners. This website showcases the artwork, as well as quotes from the partners, explorations of the issues, and what you can do to act.

nowpack in the Roaring Fork Valley in western Colorado, as seen during an Airborne Snow Observatories Inc. flight in mid-April.

Scientists are using lasers to uncover the secrets of Colorado’s snowpack. So what does it mean for your water supply? (Colorado Sun)

May 12, 2023

In Colorado, 83% of the state’s water supply comes from surface water fed by winter snowpack and spring runoff. Colorado’s snowmelt also flows downstream to millions of other users in the Colorado River Basin. Having the most accurate snowpack measurement possible is vital for water agencies, which use the data to figure out how much ends up in home faucets and on farms for irrigation. The search for new, more accurate ways to measure snowpack is on.

A map slider compares compares the 2022 and 2023 snowpack in the Sierra Nevada.

A boom year for Sierra Nevada snow (NASA)

April 28, 2023

After three years of busts, 2023 was a boom year for snow in the Sierra Nevada. Data provided by INSTAARs Noah Molotch, Leanne Lestak, and Kehan Yang provide a detailed picture of snowpack across the range and at different elevations, which helps the California Department of Water Resources and other water managers better forecast snowmelt in California.

The Colorado River flowing through the Grand Canyon on its way to Lake Mead. Bas Vermolen/Getty Images.

The search for solutions to Colorado’s water crisis (5280)

March 6, 2023

An extensive essay in 5280 outlines the history, status, and potential responses to Colorado's ongoing--and growing--water shortage. Noah Molotch describes his work calculating snow-water equivalent using remote sensing as part of the piece.