Impacts of Climate Change on Hydrology at Galena Creek, Nevada
AuthorHeslop, Joanne K.
AdvisorBoyle, Douglas P.
Natural Resources and Environmental Science
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Understanding how climate change affects stream discharge patterns is key to developing future water resource management. While observed trends serve as an indicator of how climate change affects local snowmelt-dominated watersheds, where a limited time frame for which data are are available. The objectives of this project are to determine how temperature and precipitation both have and will change at Galena Creek. The climate output will be coupled with the Thornthwaite Monthly Water Balance Model to determine what, if any hydrological changes are present at Galena Creek between 1895 and 2099. An analysis of PRISM and WRCP CMIP3 climate data at Galena Creek indicated that both precipitation and temperature increased during the three time periods (1896- 1921, 1985-2010, and 2074-2099) examined in this study. Future increased temperatures cause a shift in winter precipitation from snow to rain. This shift from snow to rain , in turn, leads to less snowpack in the mountains, more winter and spring runoff, and less summer and fall runoff. The shifts in winter precipitation and snow dynamics result in peak discharge at Galena Creek occurring 1-2 months earlier during the 2074-2099 water years as compared to the 1896-1921 and 1985-2010 water years under all three examined emissions scenarios (A2, A1B, and B1).