Warmer and Longer Summers Portend Increased Stream Temperatures in the Northern Rockies
A new U.S. Geological Survey study provides a larger window into the future for understanding how seasonal stream temperatures may change in one of the most ecologically diverse ecosystems in North America – the Crown of the Continent Ecosystem, USA and Canada.
Summary: Climate warming is expected to increase stream temperatures in mountainous regions of western North America, yet the degree to which future climate change may influence seasonal patterns of stream temperature is uncertain. Much of the scientific and management focus of future changes in stream temperatures has focused instead on average summer temperatures. This new study used a comprehensive database of stream temperature records (~4 million bi-hourly recordings) and high-resolution climate and land surface data to estimate monthly stream temperatures and potential change under future warming scenarios. Results imply increasing trends in stream temperature warming during spring, summer, and fall, with the largest increases predicted during summer. Additionally, stream temperatures characteristic of current August temperatures, the warmest month of the year, may be exceeded during July and September, suggesting an earlier onset and extended duration of warm summer stream temperatures. The study provides the first broad scale analysis of seasonal climate effects on stream temperature in this internationally important ecosystem for better understanding climate change impacts on freshwater habitats and guiding conservation and climate adaptation strategies for aquatic species.
The study, “Projected warming portends seasonal shifts of stream temperatures in the Crown of the Continent Ecosystem, USA and Canada”, was published in the journal Climate Change.
Predicting climate change impacts on river ecosystems and salmonids across the Pacific Northwest: Combining vulnerability modeling, landscape genomics, and economic evaluations for conservation
Salmonids – a group of coldwater adapted fishes of enormous ecological and socio-economic value – historically inhabited a variety of freshwater habitats throughout the Pacific Northwest (PNW). Over the past century, however, populations have dramatically declined due to habitat loss, overharvest, and invasive species. Consequently, many populations are listed as threatened or endangered under...
Using the past as a prelude to the future to assess climate effects on native trout across the United States
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Climate change poses a serious threat to natural resources, biodiversity, and ecosystem services in the United States, especially in the Rocky Mountain Ecoregion. The Crown of the Continent Ecosystem (CCE) is considered one of the largest, most pristine, and biodiverse ecosystems in North America, spanning the northern Rocky Mountains of the United States and Canada. In the heart of the CCE is...