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Disentangling the Influence of Antecedent Temperature and Soil Moisture on Colorado River Water Resources | CLIMAS

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Disentangling the Influence of Antecedent Temperature and Soil Moisture on Colorado River Water Resources

Disentangling the Influence of Antecedent Temperature and Soil Moisture on Colorado River Water Resources

CLIMAS Lead:  

The main goal of this project is to better understand how a set of hydroclimatic factors (prior summer/fall soil moisture, cool season precipitation/snowpack, and late winter/spring temperatures) contribute to low annual flows on the Colorado River. Researchers are using a combination of instrumental data, tree-ring reconstructions, and downscaled CMIP5 projections to investigate the differing roles of these factors in both instrumental period droughts and droughts that have occurred over past centuries, including conditions in major sub-basins. Researchers are also testing the sensitivity of annual low flows to different CMIP5 scenarios of changes in soil moisture, winter precipitation, and winter/spring temperatures, and comparing climate conditions associated with historic/paleo low flows to those associated with low flows derived from downscaled projections. 

The Drivers of Drought in the Upper Colorado River Basin website describes the project and outcomes to date, and provides data and tools with project partners and stakeholders. U.S. Geological Survey and the Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center helped produce the website. http://www.nrmsc.usgs.gov/ColoradoRiverWater