Increasing Climate Variability and the Clues to Understanding What Makes Your Basin Flow

TitleIncreasing Climate Variability and the Clues to Understanding What Makes Your Basin Flow
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Conference2013
AuthorsAbramovich, R.
Conference Name81st Annual Western Snow Conference
Series TitleProceedings of the Western Snow Conference
Date Published2013
Conference LocationJackson Hole, Wyoming
KeywordsClimate variability, extreme weather, snow, snowmelt-streamflow relationship, streamflow

An increase in climate variability magnifies the challenges for water users, water managers and water supply forecasters. As the demand for water in the west increases, due to competing uses for this natural resource, so has climatic variability. Presented here is a review and reinforcement of past research on long-term streamflow forecast skill levels, examples of recent climate variability in Idaho, key indicators to monitor, and their relationship to historic snowmelt-streamflow relationships. Understanding these key climatic indicators and the amount of remaining snow in the basin results in a better understanding of your watershed and events that generate an increase in streamflow. Past climatic events are discussed to provide a better context for the relationship between melting snow and how a basin may react when extreme weather occurs. With an increase in climatic variability, our predictive power using historic tools has decreased, forcing us to look deeper at the underlying physical properties to understand snowmelt-streamflow relationships. Each basin is different and the sequence of events that produce rapid runoff is becoming required knowledge for water managers and users to understand what makes your basin flow.