Spatial and Temporal Change in the Hydro-Climatology of the Canadian Portion of the Columbia River Basin under Multiple Emissions Scenarios

A. T. Werner, M. A. Schnorbus, R. R. Shrestha, H. D. Eckstrand
  • ATMOSPHERE-OCEAN, September 2013, Taylor & Francis
  • DOI: 10.1080/07055900.2013.821400

Future Hydro-Climatic Change in the Canadian Portion of the Columbia River Basin

What is it about?

We use a hydrologic model that includes a simple representation of glaciers, forced with statistically-downscaled output from global climate models, to project changes to evaporation, precipitation, runoff, snow, soil moisture and temperature in the Canadian portion of the Columbia River Basin. We find a greater decrease in summer precipitation and a greater increase in annual precipitation than other previous studies likely because we use newer emissions scenarios and climate models.

Why is it important?

Annual streamflow is expected to increase by 11 to 27 percent in 2071-2098 in the Columbia and Kootenay rivers north of the Canada/US border versus average conditions for 1961-1990. This annual increase will come from increasing flows in winter and spring. Decreased flows are projected in the summer months in both basins, with up to a 55 percent decrease in August in the more southern Kootenay river basin due to higher evaporation rates.

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