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Water 2017, 9(2), 90; doi:10.3390/w9020090

Annual Changes in Seasonal River Water Temperatures in the Eastern and Western United States

1
U.S. Geological Survey, Pennsylvania Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, The Pennsylvania State University, 402 Forest Resources Building, University Park, PA 16802, USA
2
2257 Energy, Coast, and Environment Building, Department of Oceanography and Coastal Science, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, USA
3
302 Anheuser-Busch Natural Resources Building, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211, USA
4
546 Nash Hall, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA
5
U.S. Geological Survey, Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, 302 Anheuser-Busch Natural Resources Building, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: James H. Cowan and Arjen Y. Hoekstra
Received: 3 October 2016 / Revised: 19 January 2017 / Accepted: 2 February 2017 / Published: 4 February 2017
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [5262 KB, uploaded 4 February 2017]   |  

Abstract

Changes in river water temperatures are anticipated to have direct effects on thermal habitat and fish population vital rates, and therefore, understanding temporal trends in water temperatures may be necessary for predicting changes in thermal habitat and how species might respond to such changes. However, many investigations into trends in water temperatures use regression methods that assume long-term monotonic changes in temperature, when in fact changes are likely to be nonmonotonic. Therefore, our objective was to highlight the need and provide an example of an analytical method to better quantify the short-term, nonmonotonic temporal changes in thermal habitat that are likely necessary to determine the effects of changing thermal conditions on fish populations and communities. To achieve this objective, this study uses Bayesian dynamic linear models (DLMs) to examine seasonal trends in river water temperatures from sites located in the eastern and western United States, regions that have dramatically different riverine habitats and fish communities. We estimated the annual rate of change in water temperature and found little evidence of seasonal changes in water temperatures in the eastern U.S. We found more evidence of warming for river sites located in the western U.S., particularly during the fall and winter seasons. Use of DLMs provided a more detailed view of temporal dynamics in river thermal habitat compared to more traditional methods by quantifying year-to-year changes and associated uncertainty, providing managers with the information needed to adapt decision making to short-term changes in habitat conditions that may be necessary for conserving aquatic resources in the face of a changing climate. View Full-Text
Keywords: trends; river water temperature; Bayesian estimation; dynamic linear models trends; river water temperature; Bayesian estimation; dynamic linear models
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Wagner, T.; Midway, S.R.; Whittier, J.B.; DeWeber, J.T.; Paukert, C.P. Annual Changes in Seasonal River Water Temperatures in the Eastern and Western United States. Water 2017, 9, 90.

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