Climatic Change

, Volume 100, Issue 3, pp 509-523

First online:

Hydrologic effects of climate change in the Yukon River Basin

  • Lauren E. HayAffiliated withDenver Federal Center, US Geological Survey Email author 
  • , Gregory J. McCabeAffiliated withDenver Federal Center, US Geological Survey

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


A monthly water balance (WB) model was developed for the Yukon River Basin (YRB). The WB model was calibrated using mean monthly values of precipitation and temperature derived from the Precipitation-elevation Regression on Independent Slopes Model (PRISM) data set and by comparing estimated mean monthly runoff with runoff measured at Pilot Station, Alaska. The calibration procedure used the Shuffled Complex Evolution global search. Potential hydrologic effects of climate change were assessed for the YRB by imposing changes in precipitation and temperature derived from selected Inter-governmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) climate simulations. Scenarios from five general circulation model (GCM) simulations were used to provide a range of potential changes. Results from the scenarios indicate an increase in annual runoff in the twenty-first century for the YRB with simulated increases in precipitation having the greatest effect on increases in runoff. Simulated increases in temperature were found to alter the timing of snow accumulation and melt.