State Water Resources Research Institute Program

Project ID: 2009TN61B
Title: Drought Variability in Reconstructed Streamflow
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/01/2009
End Date: 2/28/2011
Congressional District: Second
Focus Categories: Drought, Climatological Processes, Hydrology
Keywords: Drought, Streamflow Reconstruction, Atmospheric/Oceanic Influences, Tree-rings, Climate,
Principal Investigators: Tootle, Glenn A; Grissino-Mayer, Henri D
Federal Funds: $ 25,000
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 51,040
Abstract: The recent drought in the southeast U.S. (e.g., Lake Lanier, GA) has greatly stressed the water supply and availability of many systems. This has resulted in increased interest in re-evaluating the various agreements and compacts for water deliverability. The proposed two-year research project will use proxy records derived from tree rings to examine climatic controls on streamflow and assess how natural interdecadal variability might impact streamflow. The proposed research will initially review existing tree-ring chronologies in and around watersheds in the State of Tennessee. Next, unimpaired or naturalized streamflow records will be identified for streams of interest. Finally, an investigation of long-term streamflow variability, focusing on extreme events such as mega-droughts, will be performed. This investigation includes evaluating the influence of various atmospheric-oceanic influences [e.g., El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO)] on streamflow. This analysis will also address how large-scale climatic drivers affect the spatial distribution of droughts and the results of the research will be used to develop probabilistic drought forecasts. These forecasts would utilize both empirical probabilities for drought risk derived from the tree-ring record and links between streamflow and climatic drivers like ENSO and the PDO.

Progress/Completion Report, 2009, PDF
Progress/Completion Report, 2010, PDF

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