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Article
Hydrologic response and watershed sensitivity to climate warming in California’s Sierra Nevada
PLoS ONE (2010)
  • Sarah E. Null, Utah State University
  • Joshua H. Viers
  • Jeffrey F. Mount
Abstract
This study focuses on the differential hydrologic response of individual watersheds to climate warming within the Sierra Nevada mountain region of California. We describe climate warming models for 15 west-slope Sierra Nevada watersheds in California under unimpaired conditions using WEAP21, a weekly one-dimensional rainfall-runoff model. Incremental climate warming alternatives increase air temperature uniformly by 2°, 4°, and 6°C, but leave other climatic variables unchanged from observed values. Results are analyzed for changes in mean annual flow, peak runoff timing, and duration of low flow conditions to highlight which watersheds are most resilient to climate warming within a region, and how individual watersheds may be affected by changes to runoff quantity and timing. Results are compared with current water resources development and ecosystem services in each watershed to gain insight into how regional climate warming may affect water supply, hydropower generation, and montane ecosystems...
Keywords
  • hydrologic,
  • watershed,
  • climate warming
Disciplines
Publication Date
2010
Publisher Statement
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0009932
Citation Information
Null, S.E., J.H. Viers, J.F. Mount. 2010. Hydrologic response and watershed sensitivity to climate warming in California’s Sierra Nevada. PLoS ONE, 5(4):e9932. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0009932.