CRCC web site release

CRCC web site release

Sep 29, 2017 | by: Oriana Chegwidden

This week we released a new web site with streamflow projections under climate change for a large number of locations in the Columbia River and coastal drainages in Washington and Oregon State. These projections are the result of a four-year study, which is both an update and enhancement to a previous study conducted by the Climate Impacts Group (CIG) in 2010. The results of our study include projections of streamflow for about 400 locations on rivers throughout the Pacific Northwest through the end of the 21st century, reflecting impacts of projected changes in temperature and precipitation for the region.

The scientific goals of the study were two-fold. First, we wished to use the latest climate projections from global climate models to provide an updated suite of projections of climate change impacts on Pacific Northwestern hydrology. Second, we wanted to build upon the CIG study by investigating the effect of methodological choices on the uncertainty in projections. In other words, we wanted to explore how our modeling choices impact our results. To that end, we used multiple modeling decisions at four different steps in the hydrologic modeling process:

  • Two different Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) for
  • Ten different global climate models, whose output was post-processed by
  • Three different downscaling methods to take the GCM projections to the same gridscale used by
  • Four different hydrologic model set-ups

By taking the permutations of the above modeling choices, we developed a dataset including 172 different projections of hydrologic states (e.g. snow water equivalent, soil moisture) and fluxes (e.g. evapotranspiration, streamflow). The streamflow was then routed to develop time series at 400 sites of interest throughout the Pacific Northwest. The ensemble of different possible futures allows users to better understand the spread in streamflow changes.

The results are publicly available to users in academic, public, and private sectors. Given the diversity of stakeholders in the Columbia River Basin, we expect interest from users in communities of fisheries, hydroelectric power generation, water availability planning, flood risk management, among others. We look forward to seeing the variety of ways the dataset will be used!

Funding: This study was partly funded by the Bonneville Power Administration as part of its Technology and Innovation Program (project BPA TIP304 to the University of Washington and Oregon State University), with additional funding to the University of Washington from the United States Bureau of Reclamation and the United States Army Corps of Engineers.

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