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Rising air and stream-water temperatures in Chesapeake Bay region, USA

December 15, 2014

Monthly mean air temperature (AT) at 85 sites and instantaneous stream-water temperature (WT) at 129 sites for 1960–2010 are examined for the mid-Atlantic region, USA. Temperature anomalies for two periods, 1961–1985 and 1985–2010, relative to the climate normal period of 1971–2000, indicate that the latter period was statistically significantly warmer than the former for both mean AT and WT. Statistically significant temporal trends across the region of 0.023 °C per year for AT and 0.028 °C per year for WT are detected using simple linear regression. Sensitivity analyses show that the irregularly sampled WT data are appropriate for trend analyses, resulting in conservative estimates of trend magnitude. Relations between 190 landscape factors and significant trends in AT-WT relations are examined using principal components analysis. Measures of major dams and deciduous forest are correlated with WT increasing slower than AT, whereas agriculture in the absence of major dams is correlated with WT increasing faster than AT. Increasing WT trends are detected despite increasing trends in streamflow in the northern part of the study area. Continued warming of contributing streams to Chesapeake Bay likely will result in shifts in distributions of aquatic biota and contribute to worsened eutrophic conditions in the bay and its estuaries.

Publication Year 2015
Title Rising air and stream-water temperatures in Chesapeake Bay region, USA
DOI 10.1007/s10584-014-1295-9
Authors Karen C. Rice, John D. Jastram
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Climatic Change
Index ID 70135619
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Virginia Water Science Center