Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2013MT282B

Student Fellowship: Understanding Trends in Snow Accumulation, Water Availability and Climate Changes Using Snow Telemetry Observations in the Missouri River Headwaters

Institute: Montana
Year Established: 2013 Start Date: 2013-03-01 End Date: 2014-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $1,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $440

Principal Investigators: Thomas Matthews

Abstract: In the Western United States the winter snowpack is a major water resource. Snowfall accounts for as much as 50 to 70% of total annual precipitation. Water availability is an important issue for most of the interior west, which is characterized in many parts by an arid to semi arid climate. Currently the Western US uses a large portion of available water so the establishment and quantification of a relationship between water and climate is crucial. Research Objectives are: 1. Is there a relationship between snowfall, water availability and climatic trends in the SNOTEL records in the Upper Missouri River basin? What are the larger implications for areas whose water supply relies on the upper Missouri River basin? 2. Are there any patterns (i.e. inter annual or decadal) that could be taken account of and planned for into the future? 3. How does the use of metadata from SNOTEL sites improve our understanding and quantification of these observed trends?