Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Precipitation declines in Pacific Northwest mountains

Date:
December 3, 2013
Source:
USDA Forest Service - Rocky Mountain Research Station
Summary:
Scientists previously attributed streamflow declines in the Pacific Northwest USA to warming temperatures based on data collected from long-term monitoring stations located in lower elevation valleys. In this new study, scientists monitored and observed declines in precipitation resulting from decreases in westerly winds in the mountains where the elevation is much higher concluding this may compound the changes in streamflow. This finding is significant since mountains are a primary water source for this region.

Recent Forest Service studies on high-elevation climate trends in the Pacific Northwest United States show that streamflow declines tie directly to decreases and changes in winter winds that bring precipitation across the region. Scientists believe the driving factors behind this finding relates to natural climate variations and man-made climate change.

Research Hydrologist Charlie Luce, with the Rocky Mountain Research Station's Aquatic Sciences Laboratory in Boise, Idaho, along with cooperators at the University of Idaho and the US Forest Service Northern Region, reflect on the decline of precipitation in the region's mountains for 60 years. Increasing wildfire area and earlier and lower streamflows have generally been attributed to warming temperatures.

"Our research," says Luce, "suggests that an alternative mechanism -- decreases in winter winds leading to decreased precipitation -- may compound the changes expected from warming alone. This is important because mountains are a primary water source for the region. Less precipitation leads to reduced runoff for communities, industry and agriculture. Decreased precipitation also exacerbates early snowmelt tied to warming temperatures. Acknowledging the effects of decreasing precipitation requires changes in how resource specialists approach climate change adaptation for water resources and forest management compared to preparing for increased temperature alone," he said. According to Luce, this may present important implications for changes in mountain precipitation and future water availability for other areas as well.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by USDA Forest Service - Rocky Mountain Research Station. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. C. H. Luce, J. T. Abatzoglou, Z. A. Holden. The Missing Mountain Water: Slower Westerlies Decrease Orographic Enhancement in the Pacific Northwest USA. Science, 2013; DOI: 10.1126/science.1242335

Cite This Page:

USDA Forest Service - Rocky Mountain Research Station. "Precipitation declines in Pacific Northwest mountains." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 December 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131203110357.htm>.
USDA Forest Service - Rocky Mountain Research Station. (2013, December 3). Precipitation declines in Pacific Northwest mountains. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131203110357.htm
USDA Forest Service - Rocky Mountain Research Station. "Precipitation declines in Pacific Northwest mountains." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131203110357.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 24, 2014) The eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, mainly known for conflict and instability, is an unlikely place for the production of fine cheese. But a farm in the village of Masisi, in North Kivu is slowly transforming perceptions of the area. Known simply as Goma cheese, the Congolese version of Dutch gouda has gained popularity through out the region. Ciara Sutton reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Higgins Breaks Record at Mt. Washington

Higgins Breaks Record at Mt. Washington

Driving Sports (July 24, 2014) Subaru Rally Team USA drivers David Higgins and Travis Pastrana face off against a global contingent of racers at the annual Mt. Washington Hillclimb in New Hampshire. Includes exclusive in-car footage from Higgins' record attempt. Video provided by Driving Sports
Powered by NewsLook.com
Storm Kills Three, Injures 20 at Virginia Campground

Storm Kills Three, Injures 20 at Virginia Campground

Reuters - US Online Video (July 24, 2014) A likely tornado tears through an eastern Virginia campground, killing three and injuring at least 20. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

AP (July 24, 2014) Mobile phone companies and communities across the country are going to new lengths to disguise those unsightly cellphone towers. From a church bell tower to a flagpole, even a pencil, some towers are trying to make a point. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins