Dust threatens Colorado’s water supply

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(Photo: Courtesy of Jeff Deems)
<p>Researchers in Silverton, Colorado, measure dust in the snowpack.</p>

Photo: DustExperts say extreme dust levels threaten Colorado’s water supply, much of which comes from snowpack.

Snow at the headwaters of the Colorado River is melting six weeks earlier than it did in the 1800s, according to scientists.

Dust may be the culprit: When a dark layer of dust lays on top of clean snow, the snow melts faster, because the dark particles absorb more of the sun’s rays.

And a new study shows that dust levels are increasing at alarming levels.

University of Colorado's Jeff Deems is the lead researcher. To hear his conversation with Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner, click the audio link above.