The Effects of Climate Change on Water Resources in the West: Introduction and Overview

Short Description

The effects of climate change in the western United States are described with a focus on the early 21st century in the Columbia river basin, Sacramento river basin. and Colorado river basin. The project tests quantitative assessments of climate-driven envrionmental impacts and provides valuable information to regional decision-makers dealing with conflicting demands on the water resources of the West. As well, the paper explores the spirit of governmenta agency projects designing ultra-scale climate simulation tools. There are five key concepts that make the project documented in this paper unique, and they are:

  • This assessment was performed as a coordinated project.
  • The global climate model used to produce the climate scenarios is one of the more conservative in terms of climate sensitivity.
  • Emphasis was placed on changes over the next 50 years using multiple model realizations.
  • Results from the global model are down-scaled using regional climate models and statistical techniques.
  • Water resource assessments were focused on three major western river systems: the Columbia, the Sacramento/San Juaquin, and the Colorado river basin.

It is important to note that the project did not consider effects in growth in demand due to population increae and economic growth. Emphasis is on how the effect of climate change on the system as it stands today.

Format and Retrieval

This article can be viewed in html and downloaded as PDF through Springer Link.

Related Partners

The Fish and Wildlife Service works with others to manage and monitor the conservation of wildlife habitats throughout the United States. This includes the direct management of the National Wildlife Refuge System for the wellfare of all American people, and using social science in the decision making process and utilization of management plans.

Suggested Citation

Barnett, Tim, Robert Malone, William Pennell, Detlet Stammer, Bert Semtner, and Warren Washington. "The Effects of Climate Change on Water Resources in the West: Introduction and Overview." Climatic Change 62.1-3 (2004): 1-11