Effects of Climate Change on Watershed Runoff

by D. M. Wolock, US Geological Survey, United States,
M. A. Ayers, US Geological Survey, United States,
L. E. Hay, US Geological Survey, United States,
G. J. McCabe, Jr., US Geological Survey, United States,



Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Hydraulic Engineering

Abstract: This paper examines forecasts of changes in watershed runoff in the Delaware River basin that result from a range of predicted effects of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) on future precipitation, temperature, and stomatal resistance of plants. A deterministic hydrologic model, TOPMODEL, was driven with stochastic inputs of temperature and precipitation to derive the forecasts. Results indicate that the direction and magnitude of the changes in watershed runoff are dependent on the relative magnitudes of the induced changes in precipitation, temperature, and stomatal resistance. Natural variability in temperature and precipitation obscured the changes in watershed runoff even when the simulated changes in precipitation, temperature, and stomatal resistance were substantial.

Subject Headings: Watersheds | Runoff | Climate change | Precipitation | Temperature effects | Load and resistance factor design | Hydrologic models | Computer models | North America | United States | Delaware | Colorado

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