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Note: This article is from Conservation Magazine, the precursor to Anthropocene Magazine. The full 14-year Conservation Magazine archive is now available here.

Holding Water

June 10, 2013

A cabinet modeled after snowpack data

Artist Adrien Segal has transformed cold, hard data about snow into an undulating wood sculpture. Segal started with 31 years of snowpack measurements recorded by a SNOTEL sensor at Ebbetts Pass in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains. The SNOTEL (short for “snowpack telemetry”) network, operated by the USDA’s National Water and Climate Center, calculates the amount of water contained in the snowpack of mountains in the western U.S.; the data are used to forecast water supplies in the face of a changing climate. Segal designed her Snow Water Equivalent Cabinet with each drawer representing one year of data. The height of each layer is proportional to that year’s total precipitation. The sculpted plywood front acts as a graph of snow water equivalents throughout the year and highlights the first snow, maximum snowpack, and last melt. Visit for more about her work. ❧

Images courtesy of Adrien Segal

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