Demaria, Eleonora; Roundy, Joshua; Wi, Sungwook; Palmer, Richard N

Journal of Climate

Published date September 15, 2016

The Effects of Climate Change on Seasonal Snowpack and the Hydrology of the Northeastern and Upper Midwest United States

  • Assesses the potential effects of climate change on the snowpack of the northeastern and upper Midwest United States using statistically downscaled climate projections from an ensemble of 10 climate models and a macroscale hydrological model
  • Climate simulations for the region indicate warmer-than-normal temperatures and wetter conditions for the snow season (November-April) during the twenty-first century
  • Models indicate statistically significant negative trends in snow water equivalent (SWE) for the region, despite projected increases in seasonal precipitation
  • Finds that snow cover is likely to migrate northward in the future as a result of warmer-than-present air temperatures, with higher loss rates in northern latitudes and at high elevation
  • Finds that decreases in future (2041-95) snow cover in early spring will likely affect the timing of maximum spring peak streamflow, with earlier peaks predicted in more than 80% of the 124 basins studied