Predicting regime shifts in flow of the Gunnison River under changing climate conditions

W. Paul Miller, Gina M. Derosa, Subhrendu Gangopadhyay, Juan B Valdes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Water resource management agencies have traditionally relied upon past observations of historical hydrologic records for long-term planning. This assumption of stationarity, that the past is representative of the future, may no longer be valid under changing climate conditions. The Gunnison River Basin contributes approximately 16% of the annual natural streamflow within the Upper Colorado River Basin, affecting water supply availability over the entire Colorado River Basin. Recent studies indicate that streamflow over the Gunnison River Basin, a subbasin within the Colorado River Basin, may decrease on the order of 15% through 2099. Further study has developed a methodology to statistically characterize the risk of regime shifts using observations of past streamflow through the use of a two-parameter gamma distribution. In this study, regime characteristics derived using a paleoreconstruction of streamflow over the Gunnison River Basin are compared regime characteristics developed using 112 projections of future hydrology to better understand how the frequency and duration of persistent dry and wet periods may change as the impacts of climate change are realized over the subbasin. Results indicate that under changing climate conditions, similar regime characteristics may be expected through 2039. However, between 2040 and 2099, more frequent and persistent dry regimes increase on the order of 50%. Conversely, wet regimes are expected to be shorter and less frequent than observed over the paleoclimatic record, decreasing in frequency by as much as 50%.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2966-2974
Number of pages9
JournalWater Resources Research
Volume49
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 2013

Fingerprint

climate conditions
river basin
streamflow
river
hydrology
water supply
climate change
methodology

Keywords

  • Climate Change
  • Gamma Distribution
  • Gunnison River
  • Hydrology
  • Regime Shifts
  • Streamflow

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology

Cite this

Predicting regime shifts in flow of the Gunnison River under changing climate conditions. / Miller, W. Paul; Derosa, Gina M.; Gangopadhyay, Subhrendu; Valdes, Juan B.

In: Water Resources Research, Vol. 49, No. 5, 2013, p. 2966-2974.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Miller, W. Paul ; Derosa, Gina M. ; Gangopadhyay, Subhrendu ; Valdes, Juan B. / Predicting regime shifts in flow of the Gunnison River under changing climate conditions. In: Water Resources Research. 2013 ; Vol. 49, No. 5. pp. 2966-2974.
@article{d70ee0d5019c4782a71fc9b2580aa26a,
title = "Predicting regime shifts in flow of the Gunnison River under changing climate conditions",
abstract = "Water resource management agencies have traditionally relied upon past observations of historical hydrologic records for long-term planning. This assumption of stationarity, that the past is representative of the future, may no longer be valid under changing climate conditions. The Gunnison River Basin contributes approximately 16{\%} of the annual natural streamflow within the Upper Colorado River Basin, affecting water supply availability over the entire Colorado River Basin. Recent studies indicate that streamflow over the Gunnison River Basin, a subbasin within the Colorado River Basin, may decrease on the order of 15{\%} through 2099. Further study has developed a methodology to statistically characterize the risk of regime shifts using observations of past streamflow through the use of a two-parameter gamma distribution. In this study, regime characteristics derived using a paleoreconstruction of streamflow over the Gunnison River Basin are compared regime characteristics developed using 112 projections of future hydrology to better understand how the frequency and duration of persistent dry and wet periods may change as the impacts of climate change are realized over the subbasin. Results indicate that under changing climate conditions, similar regime characteristics may be expected through 2039. However, between 2040 and 2099, more frequent and persistent dry regimes increase on the order of 50{\%}. Conversely, wet regimes are expected to be shorter and less frequent than observed over the paleoclimatic record, decreasing in frequency by as much as 50{\%}.",
keywords = "Climate Change, Gamma Distribution, Gunnison River, Hydrology, Regime Shifts, Streamflow",
author = "Miller, {W. Paul} and Derosa, {Gina M.} and Subhrendu Gangopadhyay and Valdes, {Juan B}",
year = "2013",
doi = "10.1002/wrcr.20215",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "49",
pages = "2966--2974",
journal = "Water Resources Research",
issn = "0043-1397",
publisher = "American Geophysical Union",
number = "5",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Predicting regime shifts in flow of the Gunnison River under changing climate conditions

AU - Miller, W. Paul

AU - Derosa, Gina M.

AU - Gangopadhyay, Subhrendu

AU - Valdes, Juan B

PY - 2013

Y1 - 2013

N2 - Water resource management agencies have traditionally relied upon past observations of historical hydrologic records for long-term planning. This assumption of stationarity, that the past is representative of the future, may no longer be valid under changing climate conditions. The Gunnison River Basin contributes approximately 16% of the annual natural streamflow within the Upper Colorado River Basin, affecting water supply availability over the entire Colorado River Basin. Recent studies indicate that streamflow over the Gunnison River Basin, a subbasin within the Colorado River Basin, may decrease on the order of 15% through 2099. Further study has developed a methodology to statistically characterize the risk of regime shifts using observations of past streamflow through the use of a two-parameter gamma distribution. In this study, regime characteristics derived using a paleoreconstruction of streamflow over the Gunnison River Basin are compared regime characteristics developed using 112 projections of future hydrology to better understand how the frequency and duration of persistent dry and wet periods may change as the impacts of climate change are realized over the subbasin. Results indicate that under changing climate conditions, similar regime characteristics may be expected through 2039. However, between 2040 and 2099, more frequent and persistent dry regimes increase on the order of 50%. Conversely, wet regimes are expected to be shorter and less frequent than observed over the paleoclimatic record, decreasing in frequency by as much as 50%.

AB - Water resource management agencies have traditionally relied upon past observations of historical hydrologic records for long-term planning. This assumption of stationarity, that the past is representative of the future, may no longer be valid under changing climate conditions. The Gunnison River Basin contributes approximately 16% of the annual natural streamflow within the Upper Colorado River Basin, affecting water supply availability over the entire Colorado River Basin. Recent studies indicate that streamflow over the Gunnison River Basin, a subbasin within the Colorado River Basin, may decrease on the order of 15% through 2099. Further study has developed a methodology to statistically characterize the risk of regime shifts using observations of past streamflow through the use of a two-parameter gamma distribution. In this study, regime characteristics derived using a paleoreconstruction of streamflow over the Gunnison River Basin are compared regime characteristics developed using 112 projections of future hydrology to better understand how the frequency and duration of persistent dry and wet periods may change as the impacts of climate change are realized over the subbasin. Results indicate that under changing climate conditions, similar regime characteristics may be expected through 2039. However, between 2040 and 2099, more frequent and persistent dry regimes increase on the order of 50%. Conversely, wet regimes are expected to be shorter and less frequent than observed over the paleoclimatic record, decreasing in frequency by as much as 50%.

KW - Climate Change

KW - Gamma Distribution

KW - Gunnison River

KW - Hydrology

KW - Regime Shifts

KW - Streamflow

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84879973331&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84879973331&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1002/wrcr.20215

DO - 10.1002/wrcr.20215

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:84879973331

VL - 49

SP - 2966

EP - 2974

JO - Water Resources Research

JF - Water Resources Research

SN - 0043-1397

IS - 5

ER -