State Water Resources Research Institute Program

Project Id: 2010MT217B
Title: Addressing computational paradigms in modeling the impacts of climate variability on watershed yield
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/01/2010
End Date: 2/28/2011
Congressional District: At-Large
Focus Categories: Hydrology, Models, Methods
Keywords: Hydrologic modeling, scenario analysis, uncertainty
Principal Investigator: Marshall, Lucy
Federal Funds: $ 13,190
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 27,180
Abstract: Recent research has illustrated the variability of snowpack accumulation and melt in the Montana region and its links to climate change trends. There is a strong desire to better understand the potential long term impact of this variability on downstream watershed response and water yield. Recent efforts have focused on the use of downscaled projections of temperature, precipitation, and other climatic variables, and have linked these to watershed scale simulation models. These models (and the associated computational tools required for scenario analysis, uncertainty assessment, and model optimization) have a significant computational burden exhibited by a large number of parameters and lengthy run times.

This project will link complex conceptualizations of watershed processes with statistical tools for representing uncertainty in models and simulated scenarios. We aim to ultimately place these methods in the context of a process based mechanistic model describing watershed processes that account for the spatial distribution of land surface processes and enable scenario analysis related to climatic variability and change. We will implement these methods at an experimental watershed with multi-scale field observations and a complexity of environmental processes due to complex terrain, seasonal variability in climatic forcing, and diversity in physical characteristics affecting watershed processes (vegetation, aspect, topographic convergence/divergence, geology) across nested sub-watersheds.

Progress/Completion Report, 2010, PDF

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