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Assessment of the potential effects of climate change on water resources of the Delaware River basin; work plan for 1988-90

January 1, 1989

The current consensus is that some global atmospheric warming will occur as a result of increasing ' greenhouse ' gases. Water resources scientists, planners, and managers are concerned about the uncertainty associated with climatic-change effects on water supplies and what planning might be necessary to mitigate the effects. Collaborative studies between climatologists, hydrologists, biologists, and others are needed to gain this understanding. The Delaware River basin study is an interdisciplinary effort on the part of the U.S. Geological Survey that was initiated to improve understanding of the sensitivity of the basin 's water resources to the potential effects of climate change. The Delaware River basin is 12,765 sq mi in area, crosses five physiographic provinces, and supplies water for an estimated 20 million people within and outside the basin. Climate change presumably will result in changes in precipitation and temperature and could have significant effects on evapotranspiration, streamflow, and groundwater recharge. A rise in sea level is likely to accompany global warming and, depending on changes in freshwater inflows, could alter the salinity of the Estuary and increase saline-water intrusion into adjacent aquifer systems. Because the potential effects are not well understood, this report discusses how the effects of climate change on the basin 's water resources might be defined and evaluated. The study objective is to investigate the basin 's hydrologic response, under existing water management policy and infrastructure, to various scenarios of climate change. Specific objectives include defining the temporal and spatial variability of basin hydrology under existing climate conditions , developing climate-change scenarios, and evaluating the potential effects and sensitivities of basin water availability to these scenarios. The objectives will be accomplished through intensive modeling analysis of the basin 's climate, watershed, estuary, and aquifer systems. (USGS)

Publication Year 1989
Title Assessment of the potential effects of climate change on water resources of the Delaware River basin; work plan for 1988-90
DOI 10.3133/ofr88478
Authors M. A. Ayers, G.H. Leavesley
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Open-File Report
Series Number 88-478
Index ID ofr88478
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse