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From mountains to Great Salt Lake: The secrets of snowmelt

Utah’s snowpack has been smashing records. The combined totals for the 2022-24 winter seasons were 1,531 inches, the highest two-year snowfall in the state’s history. What does that mean for water levels in the Great Salt Lake?

On April 24, 2024, University of Utah hydrologist and biogeochemist Paul Brooks spoke on the topic to a packed room at Alta Ski Area for the Friends of Alta lecture series. He discussed the importance of snowmelt to Utah, the western U.S. and semi-arid regions around the world. An affiliate of the U’s Peak Water Engine, Brooks’ research group focuses on the interactions between climate, water, ecosystems and society. In particular, he aims to improve models to give water managers earlier and better predictions of the season’s water availability, based on the year’s snowpack totals.

Brooks spoke with @theU about the multi-year journey for water molecules from mountain snowfall to the Great Salt Lake.

Q&A with Paul Brooks


  • Lisa Potter Research communications specialist, University of Utah Communications