Complex Geomorphic Response to Minor Climate Changes, San Diego County, CA

by R. Craig Kochel, Bucknell Univ, Lewisburg, United States,
Dale F. Ritter, Bucknell Univ, Lewisburg, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Hydraulics/Hydrology of Arid Lands (H?AL)


Precipitation in San Diego County, California over the past several hundred years has been characterized by excursions between periods of relatively low precipitation having durations of several decades punctuated by short-term wet intervals of increased precipitation lasting less than a decade (Ganus, 1976; Schulman, 1947). The latest phase of above average precipitation began in 1978 and continued through 1983 when stations across the county experienced precipitation between 61% and 112% above normal. The effects of this recent wet episode have been well documented along coastal areas near San Diego, however, it is not clear how the increased precipitation may have altered the hydrologic regime and geomorphic processes farther inland. The focus of this study was a reconnaissance effort to investigate the geomorphic response of hillslopes and channels to the increased precipitation between 1978 and 1983 in a variety of physiographic settings throughout San Diego County where rainfall records indicate that the last wet episode penetrated inland to the Sonoran Desert.

Subject Headings: Precipitation | Rainfall-runoff relationships | Climate change | Arid lands | Hydrology | Coastal processes | Channels (waterway) | California | United States

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