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Projecting the Impacts of Climate Change on the Flow Regime of the Columbia River Basin


Flow regimes of many rivers around the world are likely to be impacted by the effects of climate change. The Columbia River’s flow regime is heavily dependent on seasonal melting of snow; the warming climate will therefore impact the timing and the volume of the flow. This type of information is required by water resources managers for long-term planning of hydroelectricity assets. The Bonneville Power Administration collaborated with researchers to develop a climate change streamflow dataset for the Columbia River Basin using the latest climate simulations. This works allowed to incorporate ongoing work in the explicit representation of glacier processes in hydrological models and to estimate seasonal changes in the flow.

Key take-away

Long-term planning efforts need access to the best possible estimates of future climate change.

Further reading

Predicting the Hydrologic Response of the Columbia River System to Climate Change

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