While water levels in California's reservoirs are still high after 2017's near record-wet year across the state, this winter's snow dearth is raising concerns about drought conditions returning during the summer dry season. Winter snowpack in the Sierra is a vital source of California's water supply. Dry winters, or frequent warm conditions that bring rain instead of snow to high elevations, mean there is less spring and summer snowmelt available to replenish the state's water reservoirs during the summer months.
Although true-color images like this may appear to be photographs of Earth, they aren't. They are created by combining data from the three color channels on the VIIRS instrument sensitive to the red, green and blue (or RGB) wavelengths of light into one composite image. In addition, data from several other channels are often also included to cancel out or correct atmospheric interference that may blur parts of the image.