Responsible stewardship of native fish populations and riparian plants in the Meduxnekeag River watershed in northeastern Maine is a high priority for the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians. Understanding the potential changes in hydrology and water temperature as a result of climate change is important to this priority for evaluating future habitat conditions in the watershed. This report, prepared in cooperation with the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians, documents and presents the results of a model using the Precipitation-Runoff Modeling System (PRMS), a hydrologic model designed to provide streamflow and water temperature simulations under predicted changes in precipitation and air temperature during the next century.
To estimate streamflows and water temperature in the Meduxnekeag River watershed, a PRMS model was developed and calibrated. By using the calibrated PRMS model, simulations were made for projected scenarios of 0, 5, 10, and 15 percent increases in precipitation and for increases in air temperature of 0.0, 3.6, 7.0, and 10.4 degrees Fahrenheit (°F). The increases in precipitation and temperature were applied to all the daily input values uniformly. These scenarios were based upon the results from 30 climate change models summarized in the National Climate Change Viewer. Streamflows and water temperatures modeled for different climate scenarios were compared with streamflows and water temperatures modeled with unadjusted climate inputs.
Overall, streamflow increased with increasing precipitation and decreased with increasing air temperature. Water temperature increased with increasing air temperature. At the outlet of the studied Meduxnekeag River watershed, with both a 15 percent increase in precipitation and a 10.4 °F increase in air temperature, the mean annual streamflow increased by 17 percent from 489 cubic feet per second (ft3/s) to 572 ft3/s, and the mean annual maximum streamflow decreased by 8.3 percent from 3,870 ft3/s to 3,550 ft3/s. At the same location and under the same scenario, the mean annual water temperature increased by 17.5 percent from 47.4 °F to 55.7 °F.
Significant changes in mean monthly streamflows were found with increasing air temperature. The PRMS model results showed that when air temperature was increased, there was an increase in mean monthly streamflow during the winter months and a decrease in mean monthly streamflow during the spring months. In addition, with a 10.4 °F increase in the air temperature, the month with the greatest monthly streamflow changed from April to December. In addition, the PRMS model estimated that the mean annual maximum snowpack in snow water equivalent for the watershed would decrease from 7.67 inches to 1.26 inches, and the mean annual date of the maximum snowpack would change from March 21 to January 28 with a 15 percent increase in precipitation and a 10.4 °F increase in air temperature.
|Title||Simulating the effects of climate-related changes to air temperature and precipitation on streamflow and water temperature in the Meduxnekeag River watershed, Maine|
|Authors||David M. Bjerklie, Scott A. Olson|
|Publication Subtype||USGS Numbered Series|
|Series Title||Scientific Investigations Report|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||New England Water Science Center|
Data for Simulating the Effects of Air Temperature and Precipitation Changes on Streamflow and Water Temperature in the Meduxnekeag River Watershed, Maine
David Bjerklie, Ph.D.
Data for Simulating the Effects of Air Temperature and Precipitation Changes on Streamflow and Water Temperature in the Meduxnekeag River Watershed, MaineThe U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians (HBMI), has developed tools to assess the effects climate change on hydrology and water temperatures in the Meduxnekeag River Watershed in Maine. A USGS Scientific Investigations Report (SIR) report documents tools and datasets developed by the USGS to evaluate how climate change will affect the hydrology a
David Bjerklie, Ph.D.