From the Summit Daily News (Bob Berwyn):
“It’s profound,” said researcher Tom Painter, director of the snow optics laboratory at the University of Utah. “Areas that are actively disturbed release 1,000 times more dust,” Painter said, adding that dust layers in 2009 caused the snow pack to melt 45 to 48 days earlier than normal. Areas that haven’t been disturbed by human activities release very little dust, Painter said. “This has huge impacts on hydrology and snow cover,” Painter said, explaining that water managers have to account for changes in runoff as they plan the operation of reservoirs and diversions.