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US Forest Service Research & Development
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  • US Forest Service Research & Development
  • 1400 Independence Ave., SW
  • Washington, D.C. 20250-0003
  • 800-832-1355
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Research Highlights

Individual Highlight

Evaluating the Effects of Climate Change on Streamflow

Modeled flow metric datasets are organized by six major river basins in the western United States. Forest ServiceSnapshot : Scientists have developed a database of flow metrics for streams in the western U.S. under historical conditions and climate change scenarios.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Charlie Luce 
Research Station : Rocky Mountain Research Station (RMRS)
Year : 2011
Highlight ID : 381

Summary

Climate change is projected to alter the flow regimes of streams and rivers - with consequences for physical processes and aquatic organisms. To study these hydrologic changes, Station scientists have developed a database of flow metrics for streams in the western U.S. under historical conditions and climate change scenarios. Trout Unlimited and the Rocky Mountain Research Station used model outputs to determine key attributes of the flow regime for each stream segment in the 1:100,000 scale National Hydrography Dataset in the western U.S., excluding larger rivers. Datasets are available for the historical period from 1978 to 1997 and for future scenarios associated with global climate models.

See FlowMetricDatasetDescription.pdf for more information and important caveats on data accuracy and appropriate use. Associated publications include: Wenger, Seth J.; Luce, Charles H.; Hamlet, Alan F.; Isaak, Daniel J.; Neville, Helen M. 2010. Macroscale hydrologic modeling of ecologically relevant flow metrics. Water Resources Research. 46: W09513. doi:10.1029/2009WR008839; and Wenger, S.J., D.J. Isaak, C.H. Luce, H.M. Neville, K.D. Fausch, Jason B. Dunham, D.C. Dauwalter, M.K. Young, M.M. Elsner, B.E. Rieman, A.F. Hamlet, and J.E. Williams, 2011, Flow regime, temperature, and biotic interactions drive differential declines of trout species under climate change. Proceedings National Academy of Sciences, in press.

Research Topics

Priority Areas

  • Water, Air, and Soil
  • Climate Change