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The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Bringing People, Data, and Models Together - Addressing Impacts of Climate Change on Stream Temperature


K O'neil

Austin Polebitski

A.C Yang

Richard Palmer

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Year of Publication:
Secondary Title:
ASCE's 2013 World Environmental and Water Resources Congress


Survivability of aquatic organisms has been linked to stream temperature regimes. Climate change is anticipated to alter the current thermal patterns in riparian ecosystems and will have implications for these organisms. A water temperature change of 1 or 2 \textdegreeC may have severe consequences for aquatic species, specifically coldwater fishes. Monitoring and modeling of stream temperature regimes is critical to assessing the vulnerability of coldwater species under the impacts of climate change in the Northeast United States. This research reviews the literature on existing stream temperature models for applicability over varying spatial and temporal scales. Collection of existing stream temperature data in the Northeast into one consistent format for analysis in stream temperature models is in progress. Other ongoing efforts include the evaluation of three models for effectiveness across a large spatial scale, the deployment of temperature loggers based on previous spatial stream network coverage with the purpose of coarse and fine-grain monitoring, and the application of models to basins in the Northeast to study climate change impacts on stream temperature and identify watershed characteristics that lead to resilient stream temperatures.