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Characterizing changes in streamflow and sediment supply in the Sacramento River Basin, California, using hydrological simulation program—FORTRAN (HSPF)

September 30, 2016

A daily watershed model of the Sacramento River Basin of northern California was developed to simulate streamflow and suspended sediment transport to the San Francisco Bay-Delta. To compensate for sparse data, a unique combination of model inputs was developed, including meteorological variables, potential evapotranspiration, and parameters defining hydraulic geometry. A slight decreasing trend of sediment loads and concentrations was statistically significant in the lowest 50% of flows, supporting the observed historical sediment decline. Historical changes in climate, including seasonality and decline of snowpack, contribute to changes in streamflow, and are a significant component describing the mechanisms responsible for the decline in sediment. Several wet and dry hypothetical climate change scenarios with temperature changes of 1.5 °C and 4.5 °C were applied to the base historical conditions to assess the model sensitivity of streamflow and sediment to changes in climate. Of the scenarios evaluated, sediment discharge for the Sacramento River Basin increased the most with increased storm magnitude and frequency and decreased the most with increases in air temperature, regardless of changes in precipitation. The model will be used to develop projections of potential hydrologic and sediment trends to the Bay-Delta in response to potential future climate scenarios, which will help assess the hydrological and ecological health of the Bay-Delta into the next century.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2016
Title Characterizing changes in streamflow and sediment supply in the Sacramento River Basin, California, using hydrological simulation program—FORTRAN (HSPF)
DOI 10.3390/w8100432
Authors Michelle A. Stern, Lorraine E. Flint, Justin T. Minear, Alan L. Flint, Scott A. Wright
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Water
Index ID 70176920
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization California Water Science Center; San Francisco Bay-Delta

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