Climatic Change

, Volume 62, Issue 1, pp 1-11

First online:

The Effects of Climate Change on Water Resources in the West: Introduction and Overview

  • Tim BarnettAffiliated withScripps Institution of Oceanography
  • , Robert MaloneAffiliated withLos Alamos National Laboratory
  • , William PennellAffiliated withPacific Northwest National Laboratory
  • , Detlet StammerAffiliated withScripps Institution of Oceanography
  • , Bert SemtnerAffiliated withNaval Postgraduate School
  • , Warren WashingtonAffiliated withNational Center for Atmospheric Research

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The results of an experimental `end to end' assessment of the effects of climate change on water resources in the western United States are described. The assessment focuses on the potential effects of climate change over the first half of the 21st century on the Columbia, Sacramento/San Joaquin, and Colorado river basins. The paper describes the methodology used for the assessment, and it summarizes the principal findings of the study. The strengths and weaknesses of this study are discussed, and suggestions are made for improving future climate change assessments.