AbstractFor 14 alternative climate futures, water yield and snow water equivalent (SWE) throughout the contiguous United States (CONUS) were projected over the twenty-first century using the Variable Infiltration Capacity model (VIC). The futures correspond to climate projections from seven CMIP5 models each forced by two representative concentration pathways for greenhouse gases (RCP4.5 and RCP8.5). With both RCPs, decreases in water yields are projected for roughly two-thirds of the CONUS, and in 60% of that area—mainly at more northern latitudes, where the greatest temperature increases are expected—this occurs despite projected increases in precipitation. The greatest relative decreases in yield are projected for the southern Great Plains and the Southwest, where temperature and precipitation changes combine to decrease yield. Snow accumulation is projected to decrease almost everywhere by the latter half of the century, with the time of peak SWE in some basins projected to occur up to 2 months earlier than it now does. These changes, should they come to pass, will challenge the adaptation capacity of future water management.
Journal of Hydrometeorology – American Meteorological Society
Published: Aug 17, 2017
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