Hydrologic Implications of Global Warming on Water Resources in California

by Dennis P. Lettenmaier, Univ of Washington, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Hydraulic Engineering


The possible effects of climate change on the water resources of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Basin, as predicted by general circulation models (GCM's) were evaluated using a two stage simulation approach. In the first stage, long-term runoff sequences corresponding to steady state CO2 doubling scenarios predicted by three GCM's were simulated for four representative headwater 'study catchments' using rainfall/snowmelt-runoff models. In the second stage, long-term inflows to the combined Central Valley Project State Water Project (CVP/SWP) reservoir system were simulated, conditioned on the study catchment flows, using a stochastic disaggregation model. Snow accumulation and ablation and runoff were simulated for the four study catchments under current (historical) conditions using the National Weather Service snowmelt and soil moisture accounting models. All simulations were performed using 100 years of daily temperature and precipitation data. Study results are discussed.

Subject Headings: Water resources | Hydrology | Global warming | Runoff | Flow simulation | Hydrologic models | Water circulation | Climate change | California | United States

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