climate change effects on water

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  • Climate Change Effects on Water

    John Campbell Research Ecologist

    USDA Forest Service, Durham, NH

    Climate Change & New England Forests Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest

    November 18-19, 2015

  • Long-term climate indicators at HB

    Meteorological Air temperature Solar radiation Relative humidity Wind speed

    Soil Soil temperature Soil moisture Soil Frost Sediment

    Biological Phenology Birds Vegetation composition Litterfall Tree cores Hydrological

    Lake ice in/out Streamflow Precipitation Stream temperature Snow depth/SWE Lake thermal profiles Water isotopes

  • Climate change = hydrologic change

    Google Ngram viewer

    Michel et al. 2011. Science.

  • Observed US precipitation change

    Annual total precipitation change for 1991-2012 compared to the 1901-1960 average.

    Melillo et al. 2014. National Climate Assessment.

  • Hubbard Brook precipitation

    Water Year (Jun 1)1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010

    Prec

    ipita

    tion

    (inch

    es)

    30

    35

    40

    45

    50

    55

    60

    65

    70

    75

    80

    Rain gage 1Rain gage 2Rain gage 3

  • Regional trends in precipitation

    Water Year (Jun 1)1890 1900 1910 1920 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020

    Prec

    ipita

    tion

    (inch

    es)

    25

    30

    35

    40

    45

    50

    55

    60

    65

    70

    75

    Hubbard BrookRegional average

  • Regional trends in precipitation

    Water Year (Jun 1)1890 1900 1910 1920 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020

    Prec

    ipita

    tion

    (inch

    es)

    25

    30

    35

    40

    45

    50

    55

    60

    65

    70

    75

    Hubbard BrookRegional average

    6.7 inches (p=0.011)

    11.7 inches (p=0.002)

  • Why is precipitation increasing?

    Warmer air can hold more water vapor

    Storm tracks are changing

    Stephens. 2011. Nature Climate Change

  • Soil moisture

    Groffman et al. 2012 BioScience

    1955 1960 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000

    Avg

    . soi

    l moi

    stur

    e (in

    .)

    0.00

    0.25

    0.50

    0.75

    1.00

    1.25

    1.50

    1.75

    2.001 in. depth3 in. depth12 in. depth

  • Max

    . sno

    w d

    epth

    (in)

    0

    10

    20

    30

    40

    50

    60

    1955 1965 1975 1985 1995 2005 2015

    Snow

    cov

    er (d

    ays)

    40

    60

    80

    100

    120

    140

    160

    180

    Updated from Campbell et al. 2007 FS Gen. Tech. Rep.

    Snowpack

    -10 inches

    -21 days

  • The Spring Trigger

    Groffman et al. 2012. BioScience

  • Soil frost depth

    Winter

    1955 1960 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2015

    Max

    . soi

    l fro

    st d

    epth

    (in)

    -12

    -10

    -8

    -6

    -4

    -2

    0

    Station 2Station 17

  • Future changes in soil frost

    1979-2008 mean

    GFDL (Hi CO2) /2009-99

    GFDL (Low CO2) /2009-99

    HADLEY (Hi CO2) /2009-99

    HADLEY (Low CO2) /2009-99

    PCM (Hi CO2 ) /2009-99

    PCM (Low CO2) /2009-99

    Max. frost depth (inches)

    3.9 0 -2.0 -0.4

    +0.4

    +0.4

    -1.2

    Frost duration (days)

    98 -32 -21 -54 -8 -24 -24

    Freeze-thaw events (count)

    4 +3 +2 +2 0 +1 0

    Campbell et al. 2010. Hydrological Processes

    P

  • Changes in streamflow

    Campbell et al. 2011. Water Resources Research

    Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct

    Dai

    ly s

    tream

    flow

    (in)

    0.0

    0.1

    0.2

    0.3

    0.4

    0.5

    0.6

    1969present

    Watershed 8

  • Top 20 streamflow events

    Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan

    Stre

    am d

    isch

    arge

    (ft3

    /sec

    )

    0

    10

    20

    30

    40

    50

    60

    70

    Rain-on-snow

    Snowmelt

    Convective rainfall

    Frontal rainfall Hurricanes

  • August 28, 2011 7th costliest hurricane Up to 10 inches of rain in NH

    Tropical Storm Irene

    Photographs courtesy of S. Bailey

    Aug. 29 2011

  • High flow days are increasing

    High flow days are increasing also

    Number of days per year with streamflow > 95th percentile

    Day

    s

    05

    10152025303540

    W6

    Water Year (Jun 1)

    1955 1965 1975 1985 1995 2005 2015

    Day

    s

    05

    10152025303540

    W3

    0.154 days/yrP=0.014

    0.176 days/yrP=0.003

    95th pctl. = 0.026 mm

    95th pctl. = 0.028 mm

  • Number of days per year with streamflow < 5th percentile

    Day

    s

    0102030405060708090

    100W6

    Water Year (Jun 1)

    1955 1965 1975 1985 1995 2005 2015

    Day

    s

    0102030405060708090

    100W3

    -0.333 days/yrP=0.018

    -0.511 days/yrP=0.000

    Low flow days are decreasing

  • Regional Trends in Flood Frequency

    Collins. 2009. Journal of the American Water Resources Association

  • Photograph courtesy of Scott Bailey, USFS

    Sediment can adversely affect stream biota

    Sediment can also

    affect stream morphology

    High flow events produce the most sediment

    Water quality impacts (erosion/sedimentation)

  • Evidence that stream water temperatures are rising nationally

    Influences abundance and distribution of freshwater plants and animals

    Photograph courtesy of US Fish and Wildlife Service

    Eastern brook trout

    Alters chemistry (e.g., dissolved oxygen)

    Made worse by deforestation, industrial discharge, impervious surfaces, impoundments

    Water quality impacts (water temperature)

  • Water quality impacts (nutrients)

    Campbell et al. 2009. Canadian Journal of Forest Research

  • What do these changes in climate mean

    for land managers?

    Impacts on harvesting

    Photograph by Jerry Monkman

    Less snow might be good

    Shorter period of frozen soil is bad

    Especially bad for harvesting species that grow on moist, poorly drained soils.

  • Can forest management mitigate/exacerbate

    climate change effects on water?

  • Impacts on infrastructure

    Photograph courtesy of Brian Austin, USFS, Green Mountain National Forest

    Damage to roads, bridges, culverts, and dams

    Data from the past is

    not reliable for making predictions for the future

    Design with climate

    change in mind

  • Impacts on recreational activities

    Roundtable discussion on snowmobiling

    How will recreational activities be impacted?

    How will we adapt?

  • Thank you!

    Photograph by Gordon Chibroski

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