Monday, March 28, 2011

How will Climate Change affect our area’s water cycles?


Though it is hard to predict precisely how our region’s water cycles will be affected by Climate Change here are some scientifically suggested scenarios: “A study in Monroe County, NY (Coon 2005) assessing trends from 1965 to 2005 noted an increase in temperature, precipitation, and 7-day low-flows in rural streams.” And “There is evidence from historical data and regional climate modeling to suggest that the intensity of sub-daily rainfall events will increase in a warming climate.”

Read on: New York State Water Resources Institute - Climate Change An Overview of Possible Changes in Regional Climate and Hydrology "On average, New York State receives about 40 in of precipitation per year. About 50% of this evaporates away, leaving another 50% to enter streams and rivers or to replenish withdrawn groundwater. Rainfall is relatively even over most of the year with the exception of lower amounts in the winter months. However, most evaporation and transpiration occurs between May and October when plants are active, making streamflows lower and soils dryer during summer and early fall (see Figure 1 for an illustration of typical monthly rainfall amounts and streamflows). In addition to the lack of plant transpiration, spring streamflows may be further elevated by the contribution of melting snow. This section reviews both current trends and future projections for these different hydrologic processes. "

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