Possible Climate Change and Its Impact on Snowmelt and Water Supply in California

by Maurice Roos, California Dep of Water Resources, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Watershed Planning and Analysis in Action


Global climate modelers are forecasting relatively large future climate change, with warming of 2 to 5°C. These changes, if they do occur, would have major impacts on California's water resources. A shift in runoff patterns would be expected with less spring snowmelt and more winter runoff. This shift will make it difficult to fill major multi-purpose reservoirs once the flood season is past, with losses in water yield and hydroelectric power. Also, the predicted rise in sea level may cause problems with water transfer in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Increased risk of levee failures in the Delta and a potential increase in ocean salinity intrusion could affect water supplies of the central and southern portions of California.

Subject Headings: Snowmelt | Climate change | Water supply | Water resources | Runoff | Hydro power | Sea level | Reservoirs | California | United States

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