Paper by B. Udall & J. Overpeck: ‘The 21st Century Colorado River Hot Drought and Implications for the Future’
Paper by B. Udall & J. Overpeck: ‘The 21st Century Colorado River Hot Drought and Implications for the Future’.
At least one-sixth to one-half (average at one-third) of this loss is due to unprecedented temperatures (0.98C above the 1906–1999 average), confirming model-based analysis that continued warming will likely further reduce flows.
Recently published estimates of Colorado River flow sensitivity to temperature combined with a large number of recent climate model-based temperature projections indicate that continued business-as-usual warming will drive temperature-induced declines in river flow, conservatively 220% by midcentury and 235% by end-century, with support for losses exceeding 230% at midcentury and 255% at end-century.
These results, combined with the increasing likelihood of prolonged drought in the river basin, suggest that future climate change impacts on the Colorado River flows will be much more serious than currently assumed, especially if substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions do not occur.
Approximately one-third of the flow loss is due to high temperatures now common in the basin, a result of human caused climate change.
As temperatures increase in the 21st century due to continued human emissions of greenhouse gasses, additional temperature-induced flow losses will occur.
Additional precipitation may reduce these temperature-induced losses somewhat, but to date no precipitation increases have been noted and climate models do not agree that such increases will occur.
Good stuff from a couple of bright guys!
"Years of drought and famine come and years of flood and famine come, and the climate.and the climate is not changed with dance, libation or prayer. "