Year of Award


Document Type

Professional Paper

Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name

Environmental Studies

Department or School/College

Environmental Studies

Committee Chair

Len Broberg

Commitee Members

Neva Hassanein, Sarah Halvorson


Climate Change, Vulnerability, GIS, Remote Sensing


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Environmental Studies | Geographic Information Sciences | Remote Sensing


Climate change is impacting the whole of North America, although the impacts differ depending on regional geography. In the Intermountain West, climate change is contributing to lower overall snowpack totals and diminished late season streamflows. These changes will likely contribute to vulnerabilities in how much water is available to irrigators, municipalities, and fisheries dependent upon a consistent yearly flow of meltwater. This paper explores how snowpack retention has changed via the NASA dataset Daymet, which provides gridded estimates of weather parameters including Snow Water Equivalent in the Bitterroot River Basin of western Montana. This analysis showed that snowpack retention from April 1 – June 1 has declined over the period of record (1980 – 2018). Secondly, this paper uses the snowpack analysis to explore climate vulnerability in the Skalkaho Creek sub-basin and offers suggestions for what a future researcher may consider when investigating vulnerability to reduced snowpack retention and resultant lower late season streamflows.



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