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A watershed modeling approach to streamflow reconstruction from tree-ring records
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Insight into long-term changes of streamflow is critical for addressing implications of global warming for sustainable water management. To date, dendrohydrologists have employed sophisticated regression techniques to extend runoff records, but this empirical approach cannot directly test the influence of watershed factors that alter streamflow independently of climate. We designed a mechanistic watershed model to calculate streamflows at annual timescales using as few inputs as possible. The model was calibrated for upper reaches of the Walker River, which straddles the boundary between the Sierra Nevada of California and the Great Basin of Nevada. Even though the model incorporated simplified relationships between precipitation and other components of the hydrologic cycle, it predicted water year streamflows with correlations of 0.87 when appropriate precipitation values were used.
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