Future changes in snowmelt-driven runoff timing over the western US

UNCW Author/Contributor (non-UNCW co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Michael M. Benedetti, Associate Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW )
Web Site: http://library.uncw.edu/

Abstract: We use a high-resolution nested climate model to investigate future changes in snowmelt-driven runoff (SDR) over the western US. Comparison of modeled and observed daily runoff data reveals that the regional model captures the present-day timing and trends of SDR. Results from an A2 scenario simulation indicate that increases in seasonal temperature of approximately 3 degrees to 5 degrees C resulting from increasing greenhouse gas concentrations could cause SDR to occur as much as two months earlier than present. These large changes result from an amplified snow-albedo feedback driven by the topographic complexity of the region, which is more accurately resolved in a high-resolution nested climate model. Earlier SDR could affect water storage in reservoirs and hydroelectric generation, with serious consequences for land use, agriculture, and water management in the American West.

Additional Information

Rauscher, S. A., Pal, J. S., Diffenbaugh, N. S., & Benedetti, M. M. (2008). Future changes in snowmelt-driven runoff timing over the western US. Geophys. Res. Lett., 35, L16703. doi:10.1029/2008GL034424. To view the published open abstract, go to http://dx.doi.org and enter the DOI.
Language: English
Date: 2009
Climatic changes--West (U.S.) , Greenhouse gases--West (U.S.), Runoff--West (U.S.)
Climatic changes--West (U.S.)
Runoff--West (U.S.)
Greenhouse gases--West (U.S.)

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