Climatic Change

, Volume 62, Issue 1–3, pp 1–11 | Cite as

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

  • Tim Barnett
  • Robert Malone
  • William Pennell
  • Detlet Stammer
  • Bert Semtner
  • Warren Washington


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.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Barnett, T. P., Pierce, D. W., and Schnur, D.: 2001, ‘Detection of Anthropogenic Climate Change in the Worlds Oceans’, Science 292, 270–274.Google Scholar
  2. Brown, T., Hall, B., and Westerling, A.: 2004, ‘The Impact of Twenty-First Century Climate Change on Wildland Fire Danger in the Western United States: An Applications Perspective’, Clim. Change 62, 365–388.Google Scholar
  3. Christensen, N., Wood, A., Voisin, N., Lettenmaier, D., and Palmer, R.: 2004, ‘Effects of Climate Change on the Hydrology and Water Resources of the Colorado River Basin’, Clim. Change 62, 337–363.Google Scholar
  4. Dai, A., Washington, W., Meehl, G., Bettge, T., and Strand, W.: 2004, ‘The ACPI Climate Change Simulations’, Clim. Change 62, 29–43.Google Scholar
  5. Dettinger, M., Cayan, D., Meyer, M., and Jeton, A.: 2004, ‘Simulated Hydrologic Responses to Climate Variations and Change in the Merced, Carson, and American River Basins, Sierra Nevada, California, 1900-2099’, Clim. Change 62, 283–317.Google Scholar
  6. Giorgi, F., Hewitson, B., Christensen, J., Hulme, M., Von Storch, H., Whetton, P., Jones, R., Mearns, L., and Fu, C.: 2001, ‘Regional Climate Information–Evaluation and Projections’, Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Cambridge University Press, 881 pp.Google Scholar
  7. Han, J. and Roads, J.: 2004, ‘U.S. Climate Sensitivity Simulated with the NCEP Regional Spectral Model’, Clim. Change 62, 115–154.Google Scholar
  8. Knowles, N. and Cayan, D.: 2004, ‘Elevational Dependence of Projected Hydrologic Changes in the San Francisco Estuary and Watershed’, Clim. Change 62, 319–336.Google Scholar
  9. Leung, L. R. and Qian, Y.: 2003, ‘The Sensitivity of Precipitation and Snowpack Simulations to Model Resolution via Nesting in Regions of Complex Terrain’, J. Hydrometeorology, in press.Google Scholar
  10. Leung, L. R. and Qian, Y.: 2004, ‘Changes in Seasonal and Extreme Hydrologic Conditions of the Georgia Basin/Puget Sound in an Ensemble Regional Climate Simulation for the Mid-Century’, Canadian Water Resources Journal, submitted.Google Scholar
  11. Leung, L. R., Qian, Y., and Bian, X.: 2003a, ‘Hydroclimate of the Western United States Based on Observations and Regional Climate Simulation of 1981-2000. Part I: Seasonal Statistics’, J. Climate 16, 1892–1911.Google Scholar
  12. Leung, L. R., Qian, Y., Bian, X., and Hunt, A.: 2003b, ‘Hydroclimate of the Western United States Based on Observations and Regional Climate Simulation of 1981-2000. Part II: Mesoscale ENSO Anomalies’, J. Climate 16, 1912–1928.Google Scholar
  13. Leung, L., Qian, Y., Bian, X., Washington, W., Han, J., and Roads, J.: 2004, ‘Mid-Century Ensemble Regional Climate Change Scenarios for the Western United States’, Clim. Change 62, 75–113.Google Scholar
  14. Leung, L. R., Qian, Y., Han, J., and Roads, J. O.: 2003c, ‘Intercomparison of Global Reanalyses and Regional Simulations of Cold Season Water Budgets in the Western U.S.’, J. Hydrometeorology, in press.Google Scholar
  15. Mason, S.: 2004, ‘Simulating Climate over Western North America Using Stochastic Weather Generators’, Clim. Change 62, 155–187.Google Scholar
  16. National Assessment Report: 2000, Water: The Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change for the Water Resources of the United States, A Report of the NationalWater Assessment Group for the U.S. Global Change Research Program, 151 pp.Google Scholar
  17. National Research Council: 1998, Capacity of U.S. Climate Modeling to Support Climate Change Assessment Activities, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 65 pp.Google Scholar
  18. Payne, J., Wood, A., Hamlet, A., Palmer, R., and Lettenmaier, D. 2004. ‘Mitigating the Effects of Climate Change on the Water Resources of the Columbia River Basin’, Clim. Change 62, 233–256.Google Scholar
  19. Pierce, D.: 2004, ‘Future Changes in Biological Activity in the North Pacific due to Anthropogenic Forcing of the Physical Environment’, Clim. Change 62, 389–418.Google Scholar
  20. Pierce, D., Barnett, T., Tokmakian, R., Semtner, A., Maltrud, M., Lysne, J., and Craid, A.: 2004, ‘The ACPI Project, Element 1: Initializing a Coupled ClimateModel from Observed Conditions’, Clim. Change 62, 13–18.Google Scholar
  21. Stewart, I., Cayan, D., and Dettinger, M.: 2004, ‘Changes in Snowmelt Runoff Timing in Western North America under a “Business as Usual” Climate Change Scenario’, Clim. Change 62, 217–232.Google Scholar
  22. VanRheenen, N., Wood, A., Palmer, R., and Lettenmaier, D.: 2004, ‘Potential Implications of PCM Climate Change Scenarios for Sacramento-San Joaquin River Basin Hydrology and Water Resources’, Clim. Change 62, 257–281.Google Scholar
  23. Wood, A., Leung, L., Sridhar, V., and Lettenmaier, D.: 2004, ‘Hydrologic Implications of Dynamical and Statistical Approaches to Downscaling ClimateModel Outputs’, Clim. Change 62, 189–216.Google Scholar
  24. Zhu, C., Pierce, D., Barnett, T., Wood, A., and Lettenmaier, D.: 2004, ‘Evaluation of Hydrologically Relevant PCM Climate Variables and Large-Scale Variability over the Continental U.S.’, Clim. Change 62, 45–74.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tim Barnett
    • 1
  • Robert Malone
    • 2
  • William Pennell
    • 3
  • Detlet Stammer
    • 1
  • Bert Semtner
    • 4
  • Warren Washington
    • 5
  1. 1.Scripps Institution of OceanographyLa JollaU.S.A
  2. 2.Los Alamos National LaboratoryLos AlamosU.S.A
  3. 3.Pacific Northwest National LaboratoryRichlandU.S.A
  4. 4.Naval Postgraduate SchoolMontereyU.S.A
  5. 5.National Center for Atmospheric ResearchBoulderU.S.A

Personalised recommendations