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Water 2018, 10(2), 128; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10020128

Hydrologic Regime Changes in a High-Latitude Glacierized Watershed under Future Climate Conditions

1
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO 80401, USA
2
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Hydrologic Science and Engineering, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO 80401, USA
3
U.S. Geological Survey, Lakewood, CO 80225, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 27 October 2017 / Revised: 12 December 2017 / Accepted: 20 December 2017 / Published: 30 January 2018
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Abstract

A calibrated conceptual glacio-hydrological monthly water balance model (MWBMglacier) was used to evaluate future changes in water partitioning in a high-latitude glacierized watershed in Southcentral Alaska under future climate conditions. The MWBMglacier was previously calibrated and evaluated against streamflow measurements, literature values of glacier mass balance change, and satellite-based observations of snow covered area, evapotranspiration, and total water storage. Output from five global climate models representing two future climate scenarios (RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5) was used with the previously calibrated parameters to drive the MWBMglacier at 2 km spatial resolution. Relative to the historical period 1949–2009, precipitation will increase and air temperature in the mountains will be above freezing for an additional two months per year by mid-century which significantly impacts snow/rain partitioning and the generation of meltwater from snow and glaciers. Analysis of the period 1949–2099 reveals that numerous hydrologic regime shifts already occurred or are projected to occur in the study area including glacier accumulation area, snow covered area, and forest vulnerability. By the end of the century, Copper River discharge is projected to increase by 48%, driven by 21% more precipitation and 53% more glacial melt water (RCP 8.5) relative to the historical period (1949–2009). View Full-Text
Keywords: climate change; mountains; snow hydrology; hydrologic regime change; streamflow generation; glacier; Alaska climate change; mountains; snow hydrology; hydrologic regime change; streamflow generation; glacier; Alaska
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Valentin, M.M.; Hogue, T.S.; Hay, L.E. Hydrologic Regime Changes in a High-Latitude Glacierized Watershed under Future Climate Conditions. Water 2018, 10, 128.

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