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The importance of warm season warming to western U.S. streamflow changes

January 1, 2011

Warm season climate warming will be a key driver of annual streamflow changes in four major river basins of the western U.S., as shown by hydrological model simulations using fixed precipitation and idealized seasonal temperature changes based on climate projections with SRES A2 forcing. Warm season (April-September) warming reduces streamflow throughout the year; streamflow declines both immediately and in the subsequent cool season. Cool season (October-March) warming, by contrast, increases streamflow immediately, partially compensating for streamflow reductions during the subsequent warm season. A uniform warm season warming of 3C drives a wide range of annual flow declines across the basins: 13.3%, 7.2%, 1.8%, and 3.6% in the Colorado, Columbia, Northern and Southern Sierra basins, respectively. The same warming applied during the cool season gives annual declines of only 3.5%, 1.7%, 2.1%, and 3.1%, respectively. Copyright 2011 by the American Geophysical Union.

Publication Year 2011
Title The importance of warm season warming to western U.S. streamflow changes
DOI 10.1029/2011GL049660
Authors T. Das, D.W. Pierce, D.R. Cayan, J.A. Vano, D.P. Lettenmaier
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Geophysical Research Letters
Index ID 70032682
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse