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Research Updates

These updates are brief and current news releases for Reclamation's end users, stakeholders, and other parties interested in Reclamation's Research and Development Program findings for climate change research.

Photo with caption: Cover of guidelines for treating produced water.
Managing Future Water Resources in the Upper Deschutes Basin, Oregon
Applying existing tools to simulate integrated surface and ground water response to climate change
"More accurate predictions of hydrologic changes will help water managers more effectively plan water operations over the next century. Insights from the Upper Deschutes Basin have general applicability to other regional ground water systems with mountainous recharge areas."
Marshall Gannett Hydrologist, U.S. Geological Survey
Bulletin 2013-24: Upper Deschutes Water Management, 125 kB
Photo with caption: Example of high-resolution model output from a heavy precipitation event: surface winds (yellow arrows), three-dimensional rain isosurface (blue), and three-dimensional hail isosurface (white).
Will extreme rainfall change in Colorado's future?
Using high-resolution models to understand extreme summer precipitation events and assess possiblefuture changes in Colorado
"High-resolution models provide a novel approach to evaluating the character of historical and future extreme precipitation events, offering improved representation of the timing, magnitude, and spatial distribution of precipitation events for input to hydrologic models for dam safety studies."
Jason Caldwell Meteorologist, Reclamation's Technical Service Center
Bulletin 2013-23: Extreme Rainfall, 231kB
Photo with caption:  Schematic of conditions leading to heavy precipitation over central Arizona on January 21, 2010.
Do Atmospheric Rivers Cause Heavy Downpours in the Intermountain West?
Detecting and modeling moisture sources associated with winter storms in Arizona, Colorado, and Idaho
"Developing a better understanding of the long and complex pathways that winter storms use to deliver moisture to the Intermountain West is useful to water managers."
John England, Hydraulic Engineer, Reclamation's Technical Service Center
Bulletin 2013-22: Atmospheric Rivers, 224 kB
Photo with caption: Historical fraction of wet days from statistical downscaling techniques. Figure from Gutmann, et al., 2013.
Assessing the Assessment Methods: Climate Change and Hydrologic Impacts
Are our perceptions about adaptation needs sensitive to our methods for assessing future weather and hydrologic impacts?
"Water resource managers are significantly increasing their use of hydrologic models forced by climate-changed future conditions in our planning for responding to climate change. The need for better understanding uncertainties in the models used for assessments is acute, and that understanding can be put to immediate use."
Jeff Arnold, Co-Director, Climate and Global Change Programs, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Photo with caption: Sample runoff prediction for Crystal River, Colorado.
Getting a Handle on Streamflow Prediction Skill
What are the sources of uncertainty in streamflow predictions and how do these vary?
"Understanding sources of skill in streamflow prediction, from basin observations to weather and climate forecasting, will help steer our investments in streamflow forecasting improvements to benefit water users."
Levi Brekke, Water and Climate Research Coordinator, Reclamation's Research and Development Office
Bulletin 2013-20: Streamflow Prediction, 142 kB
Photo with caption: Sample image from website that supports customized user requests from across the U.S.
Downscaled Climate and Hydrology Projections Website
New daily climate and Western United States hydrology projections are now available
"Reclamation and its partners are taking leading roles to develop an understanding on how this new information complements previous climate projections made available through CMIP3, and on how CMIP5 projections should be considered in water planning and management."
Michael L. Connor, Commissioner, Reclamation
Bulletin 2013-19: Website for Downscaling Projections, 126 kB
Photo with caption: Conceptual framework for identifying climate projection information applicable to an individual planning or decisionmaking situation.
How Do We Determine Reliable and Relevant Climate Projections for Planning?
Reclamation's diverse set of planning and management situations requires a flexible framework for judging climate projections applicability across our collection of adaptation decisions
"Outcomes from the scoping pilot are expected to inform opportunities to refine this framework, ease scoping processes, and enhance planning and decisionmaking under future climate uncertainty."
Levi Brekke, Water and Climate Research Coordinator, Reclamation's Research and Development Office
Bulletin 2013-18: Climate Projections, 116 kB
Photo with caption: Coring an old Utah Juniper.
Using Tree Rings Analysis to Reconstruct Paleoclimate and Streamflows:
Using tree rings to determine historic climate conditions in Utah
"This information confirms the climate change that we have been seeing in our annual operations, and we can use this information in future planning."
Fred Liljegren, Outdoor Recreation Planner, Reclamation
Bulletin 2013-11: Tree Ring Analysis, 268 kB