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A Geohydrologic Framework for Characterizing Summer Streamflow Sensitivity to Climate Warming in the Pacific Northwest, USA : Volume 11, Issue 3 (21/03/2014)

By Safeeq, M.

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Book Id: WPLBN0004012056
Format Type: PDF Article :
File Size: Pages 43
Reproduction Date: 2015

Title: A Geohydrologic Framework for Characterizing Summer Streamflow Sensitivity to Climate Warming in the Pacific Northwest, USA : Volume 11, Issue 3 (21/03/2014)  
Author: Safeeq, M.
Volume: Vol. 11, Issue 3
Language: English
Subject: Science, Hydrology, Earth
Collections: Periodicals: Journal and Magazine Collection, Copernicus GmbH
Publication Date:
Publisher: Copernicus Gmbh, Göttingen, Germany
Member Page: Copernicus Publications


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Kramer, M. G., Staab, B., Grant, G. E., Lewis, S. L., & Safeeq, M. (2014). A Geohydrologic Framework for Characterizing Summer Streamflow Sensitivity to Climate Warming in the Pacific Northwest, USA : Volume 11, Issue 3 (21/03/2014). Retrieved from

Description: College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA. Summer streamflows in the Pacific Northwest are largely derived from melting snow and groundwater discharge. As the climate warms, diminishing snowpack and earlier snowmelt will cause reductions in summer streamflow. Most assessments of the impacts of a changing climate to streamflow make use of downscaled temperature and precipitation projections from General Circulation Models (GCMs). Projected climate simulations from these GCMs are often too coarse for planning purposes, as they do not capture smaller scale topographic controls and other important watershed processes. This uncertainty is further amplified when downscaled climate predictions are coupled to macroscale hydrologic models that fail to capture streamflow contributions from deep groundwater. Deep aquifers play an important role in mediating streamflow response to climate change, and groundwater needs to be explicitly incorporated into sensitivity assessments. Here we develop and apply an analytical framework for characterizing summer streamflow sensitivity to a change in the timing and magnitude of recharge in a spatially-explicit fashion. Two patterns emerge from this analysis: first, areas with high streamflow sensitivity also have higher summer streamflows as compared to low sensitivity areas. Second, the level of sensitivity and spatial extent of highly sensitive areas diminishes over time as the summer progresses. Results of this analysis point to a robust, practical, and scalable approach that can help assess risk at the landscape scale, complement the downscaling approach, be applied to any climate scenario of interest, and provide a framework to assist land and water managers adapt to an uncertain and potentially challenging future.

A geohydrologic framework for characterizing summer streamflow sensitivity to climate warming in the Pacific Northwest, USA

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