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Frequent and persistent droughts exacerbate the problems caused by the inherent scarcity of water in the semiarid to arid parts of the southwestern United States. The occurrence of drought is driven by climatic variability, which for years before about the beginning of the 20th century in the Southwest must be inferred from proxy records. As part of a multidisciplinary study of the potential hydrologic impact of severe sustained drought on the Colorado River, the physical basis and limitations of tree rings as indicators of severe sustained drought are reviewed, and tree-ring data are analyzed to delineate a “worst-case� drought scenario for the Upper Colorado River Basin (UCRB). Runs analysis of a 121-site...
Availability of long-term information on the variability of water resources in a given area is particularly important for sustainable resource management. Developing watershed simulation models that can be run using annually-resolved proxy climate data provides a way to improve reconstructions of hydrological parameters over multi-century time scales. Through the addition of a snowmelt modeling component, we enhanced a simple water-balance model to simulate streamflow at seasonal resolution. The model was calibrated to the upper Meadow Valley Wash, Nevada, USA, using USGS gage number 09417500 streamflow records. PRISM data at 2.5 arc-min resolution were used to reconstruct streamflow at the seasonal timescale (October...
Abstract (from Old, multi-aged populations of riparian trees provide an opportunity to improve reconstructions of streamflow. Here, ring widths of 394 plains cottonwood ( Populus deltoides, ssp. monilifera) trees in the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota, are used to reconstruct streamflow along the Little Missouri River (LMR), North Dakota, US. Different versions of the cottonwood chronology are developed by (1) age-curve standardization (ACS), using age-stratified samples and a single estimated curve of ring width against estimated ring age, and (2) time-curve standardization (TCS), using a subset of longer ring-width...
Water resource planning is based primarily on 20th century instrumental records of climate and streamflow. These records are limited in length to approximately 100 years, in the best cases, and can reflect only a portion of the range of natural variability. The instrumental record neither can be used to gage the unusualness of 20th Century extreme low flow events, nor does it allow the detection of low-frequency variability that may underlie short-term variations in flow. In this study, tree rings are used to reconstruct mean annual streamflow for Middle Boulder Creek in the Colorado Front Range, a semi-arid region of rapid growth and development. The reconstruction is based on a stepwise regression equation that...