The Influence of Global Climate Change on Mountain Water Resources

EPA Grant Number: R824803
Title: The Influence of Global Climate Change on Mountain Water Resources
Investigators: Leung, Lai-yung Ruby , Neilson, Ronald P. , Wigmosta, Mark
Current Investigators: Leung, Lai-yung Ruby , Ghan, Steven J. , Neilson, Ronald P. , Waichler, Scott , Wigmosta, Mark
Institution: Battelle Memorial Institute, Pacific Northwest Division , Oregon State University
Current Institution: Battelle Memorial Institute, Pacific Northwest Division
EPA Project Officer: Chung, Serena
Project Period: October 1, 1995 through September 1, 1998
Project Amount: $500,000
RFA: Regional Hydrologic Vulnerability to Global Climate Change (1995) Recipients Lists
Research Category: Global Climate Change , Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration , Water , Climate Change


Global climate change is expected negatively to impact snowpack in mountainous regions, a natural surface water storage reservoir that is heavily relied upon for water resource management. A system of regional climate-hydrology-vegetation models will be used to estimate the hydrologic and ecologic responses to global climate change in mountainous watersheds. These models have been tested to simulate the meteorology, surface hydrology, and vegetation distribution in the Pacific Northwest at the 180-m scale. Each model will be further developed by improving the physical parameterizations, computational efficiency, and the coupling between model components.

The models will be evaluated extensively with observations to establish their applicability for climate change study. Sensitivity experiments will then be performed with global climate scenarios of present and doubled atmospheric CO2 concentrations. The simulations will be analyzed to estimate the hydrologic and ecologic responses to greenhouse warming at three watersheds in the Pacific Northwest.

The modeling and analysis methods developed will provide important information for impact assessment of environmental change at the regional scale.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 17 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 5 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

water, watershed, vulnerability, ecological effects, hydrology, climate model, Cascades, Northern Rockies, Region 10, Region 8., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Air, Geographic Area, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Hydrology, exploratory research environmental biology, Ecosystem/Assessment/Indicators, Chemical Mixtures - Environmental Exposure & Risk, Ecosystem Protection, climate change, Ecological Effects - Environmental Exposure & Risk, Ecological Effects - Human Health, Pacific Northwest, Atmospheric Sciences, Ecological Risk Assessment, EPA Region, Ecological Indicators, ecosystem models, water resources, ecological effects, ecological exposure, environmental monitoring, meteorology, snowpack, surface water storage reservoir, climate change impact, watersheds, global change, global vegetation models, regional hydrologic vulnerability, Northern Rockies, green house gas concentrations, hydrologic models, carbon dioxide, climate models, CO2 concentrations, Region 8, mountain water resources, global warming, Region 10, mountain watersheds, climate variability, groundwater, vegetation models

Relevant Websites:

Regional Climate Model, Simulation Approach, Results: Water

Distributed Hydrology Model:

Vegetation Models:

Snowpack Changes (A quicktime movie):

Washington State Senate Hearing - Presentation:

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 1996
  • 1997
  • Final Report