Journal de géologie et géophysique

Journal de géologie et géophysique
Libre accès

ISSN: 2381-8719


Modeling Snowmelt Runoff Response to Climate Change in the Animas River Basin,Colorado

C. Andrew Day

Snowmelt runoff is a significant water resource in the western United States. However this resource is extremely sensitive to changes in the local or regional climate. In this paper the potential changes in snowmelt runoff volume in response to changes in the local climate for the Animas River basin, Colorado were studied. A set of statistically downscaled general circulation model scenarios encompassing generally warmer and drier future climates were used to drive the Snowmelt Runoff Model (SRM) to investigate how snowmelt season basinwide runoff would respond to these conditions. Results suggest a shift in the timing and size of the snowmelt relative to historical measurements, with increases in April-May runoff volume offset by decreases in June-July runoff. The success of the SRM in modeling these climate change impacts could provide valuable data for water resource planners of similar snowmelt dominated river basins across the western United States.