Regional climate change projections of streamflow characteristics in the Northeast and Midwest U.S.
Northeast and Midwest, United States.
Assessing the climate change impacts on the basin scale is important for water and natural resource managers. Here, the presence of monotonic trends and changes in climate-driven simulated 3-day peak flows, 7-day low flows, and mean base flows are evaluated in the Northeast and Midwest U.S. during the 20th and the 21st centuries using climate projections from sixteen climate models. Proven statistical methods are used to spatially and temporally disaggregate precipitation and temperature fields to a finer resolution before being used as drivers for a hydrological model.
New hydrological insights for the region
Changes in the annual cycle of precipitation are likely to occur during the 21st century as winter precipitation increases and warmer temperatures reduce snow coverage across the entire domain especially in the northern basins. Maximum precipitation intensities are projected to become more intense across the region by mid-century especially along the coast. Positive trends in 3-day peak flows are also projected in the region as a result of the more intense precipitation, whereas the magnitude of 7-day low flows and mean base flows are projected to decrease. The length of the low flows season will likely extend by mid-century despite the increased precipitation as the atmospheric demand increases.