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HYDROLOGY IN A CHANGING CLIMATE: MOUNTAINS AS WATER TOWERS Mark Williams University of Colorado Geography and INSTAAR What Do We Really Know about the Water Cycle? Water flows towards money Whiskey’s for drinkin’, water’s for fighten’ WATER CYCLE HYDROLOGIC EQUATION Q = P – ET +- D S
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University of Colorado
Geography and INSTAAR
Q = P – ET +- DS
Q is discharge
P is precipitation
ET is evapotranspiration
S is storage (usually groundwater)
DANIEL VIVIROLI, ROLFWEINGARTNER and BRUNO MESSERLI
DANIEL VIVIROLI, ROLF WEINGARTNER and BRUNO MESSERLI
Most water users prefer “mountain stream water” because gravity delivers it for free.Gravity is Free: The Colorado-Big Thompson diversion project
New York City
Storage capacity of 550 billion gallons.
1.5 billion gallons per day delivered
to 9 million customers
97 percent reaches homes and
businesses through gravity alone
90% of water unfiltered.
Chlorine is added to the water to kill
bacteria, and fluoride is added to help
prevent tooth decay.
ALL WATER FROM MOUNTAINS!
Chemical loading also
increases with elevation
Transect from plains to ROMO
A higher percent of snowmelt converted to streamflow
with increasing elevation, because less subsurface storage to fill
Adapted from Baumgartner et al., in press
Mean change in temperature for 2xCO2 runs from 7 climate models.
Black triangles are high mountains for that latitude. White line connects
the highest elevations in each grid cell. North American summer months.
Note that the climate models suggest increasing temperature change
with increasing elevation (Bradley et al., 2004, GRLs).
CIG (www.cses.washington.edu/ cig/figures)
(Mote and others)
(Stewart and others)
Snow line and glacial extent moving uphill
Mark Dyurgerov, INSTAAR
* 16:25 02 December 2003
* NewScientist.com news service
* Duncan Graham-Rowe
Hundreds of ski resorts will go out of business
because of global warming,
according to research published
by the United Nations Environment Program
Increased Snowmaking to maintain length of season
Increased pressure for year-round operations to offset reduced winter revenues
Increased value of shrinking alpine ecosystems might limit expansion
Warmer temperatures could make skiing mor enjoyable…
From the Proceedings of the Rocky Mountain / Great Basin Regional Climate-Change Workshop