In many areas in the US, newly-fallen snow is quickly covered by a thin (or not so thin) layer of particulate pollutants which settle over it, and range from soot from coal plants and automobiles to dust stirred up by unsustainable agricultural practices. There are several implications to this. When the snow eventually melts, the melt-water feeding into streams and rivers will carry most of these pollutants with it – a serious problem in regions that rely on melting snowpacks for water during the summer months. Some pollutants also cause snow to melt faster, because the often dark-colored particles absorb extra heat. This again affects the summer water supply, because it means a smaller snowpack survives into spring and summer.
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