State Water Resources Research Institute Program

Project Id: 2010MT216B
Title: Ecohydrologic Model Development for the Assessment of Climate Change Impacts on Water Resources in the Bitterroot Valley
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/01/2010
End Date: 2/28/2011
Congressional District: At-Large
Focus Categories: Hydrology, Models, Ecology
Keywords: Ecohydrology; watershed hydrology; hydrologic modeling
Principal Investigator: Maneta, Marco
Federal Funds: $ 11,710
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 23,425
Abstract: The effect of climate change predictions on local water resources is not yet well understood. This is because climate models provide predictions of changes in the hydrologic cycle at the global or regional scales, which is not adequate to evaluate impacts in the water cycle at the local scale, and hence not adequate for policy action. Downscaling tools that can transfer results from climate models to the local scale are necessary.

An evaluation of the amount of water that will be available in the future under different climate scenarios is only possible with integrated modeling tools that can simulate the system with our best understanding of the relevant processes, including vegetation feedbacks to the hydrologic system.

In this project its is proposed the development of a spatially distributed model that couples a description of the hydrologic system with a forest growth model and an energy balance scheme so the mid-term feedbacks between climate, vegetation and the land phase of the hydrologic system at the local scale can be investigated.

The project involves two components: a model development part, in which the equations that govern energy and mass transfer between the different components of the watershed are programmed in a computer, and a field work component, in which data about the research area is collected and processed to parameterize and validate the model. Data will be collected and the model will be applied in Lost Horse Canyon, a watershed draining to the Bitterroot Valley.

Progress/Completion Report, 2010, PDF

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