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Stream flow metrics for historical and future climate change scenarios

Status: 
Action
Dates: 
January, 2008

stream flow measurements
Western U.S. Stream Flow Metrics - A dataset of modeled flow metrics for streams in major river basins of the Western US for historical and future climate change scenarios.
Climate change is projected to alter the flow regimes of streams and rivers, with consequences for physical processes, aquatic organisms, and water resource management. To study these hydrologic changes, RMRS scientist Charles Luce and his team developed a database of flow metrics for streams in the western U.S. under historical conditions and climate change scenarios. These are based on daily simulations of the Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) macroscale hydrologic model produced by the University of Washington Climate Impacts Group.

The Rocky Mountain Research Station used model outputs to calculate a set of summary flow metrics to describe key attributes of the flow regime for each stream segment in the 1:100,000 scale National Hydrography Dataset (NHDPlus version 2) in the western U.S. Datasets are available for a historical period (1977-2006), the 2040's, and the 2080's. Future datasets (2040's and 2080's) are based on the ensemble mean of ten global climate models associated with the A1B emissions scenario.

Key Findings

  • Climate change is projected to alter the flow regimes of streams and rivers, with consequences for physical processes and aquatic organisms.

  • The stream flow metric dataset makes it possible to study the effects of droughts, changes in snowpack, water resource impacts, and other hydrologic changes for historical and future climate change scenarios.

  • Datasets are available for historical conditions (1978-2006) and for future climate change scenarios associated with global climate models.

Publications

Wenger, Seth J. ; Luce, Charles H. ; Hamlet, Alan F. ; Isaak, Daniel J. ; Neville, Helen M. , 2010

Deliverables

Datasets are available for downloads here.



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