The University of Arizona

Engagement-Driven Climate Science in the Lower Colorado River Basin (LCRB) | CLIMAS

Engagement-Driven Climate Science in the Lower Colorado River Basin (LCRB)

Engagement-Driven Climate Science in the Lower Colorado River Basin (LCRB)

CLIMAS Lead:  

While the role of precipitation is clear, water managers have become increasingly concerned about the impacts of temperature and other climatic factors on water supply variability and drought, and how these factors will challenge their efforts to maintain a resilient regional water supply system. Analyses in the upper Colorado River basin have shown that warm temperatures can have a large impact on the magnitude of flow deficits during drought, and over recent decades, that temperatures are decreasing the efficiency of cool season precipitation relative to water year flow. However, no similar analyses have been done for the lower Colorado River basin (LCRB), where temperatures and other factors such as the North American monsoon, may have different impacts. This project explores which research questions, data, and information related to climate impacts on water supply have high potential to be useful and usable, and will focus on the impacts of temperature on water supply, but will refine and expand this focus according to feedback from water resource partners and other stakeholders. Once a set of initial research questions has been established, analyses on streamflow/climate relationships will be based on observed and paleoclimatic data, and results will be shared with water practitioners for feedback and suggestions for future research.

Central question: Aside from precipitation, what aspects of climate are LCRB water managers most concerned about with regard to surface water supply variability?