Sunday, January 15, 2012

Scientists to study effects of climate warming on Truckee River

Jeff DeLong in the Reno Gazette-Journal (Nevada): Scientists are beginning new research into how a warming climate could affect water supplies and flooding along the Truckee River, the waterway that serves as one of the region's central natural features and the source of most of its water. The $1.7 million study by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is part of a larger effort examining eight rivers across the West, with California's Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers among them.

The goal is to get an early idea of what costly changes might be associated with climate change when it comes to the vital issue of water supplies and flooding along major river basins in the western United States, officials said. "The goal is to look into the future so we can be prepared for it," said Mary Johannis, deputy planning officer for the Bureau of Reclamation in Sacramento.

Authorized by Congress in 2009 under the Secure Water Act, the study would build on information collected through a risk assessment released last year that examined potential impacts from climate change. Experts have projected that in California's Sierra Nevada range, the climate could warm between 1 and 5 degrees between now and 2050, said Arlan Nickel, project manager for the Bureau of Reclamation.

One expected result could be "fairly significant" reductions in the amount of precipitation falling in upper-level watersheds as well as a change in how that precipitation falls, Nickel said. "Not only will there potentially be less overall precipitation, but the type of precipitation will be different. There will be less snowfall and more rainfall," Nickel said....

View of the Truckee River from the UPRR grade just East of Truckee, California. Shot by Bruce C. Cooper ( aka Centpacrr, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 License

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