03SierraWaterBalance2007 - ESM 203: Earth System Science...

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Homework 3, 25 pts total ESM 203: Earth System Science for Environmental Management 06 November 2007, due 20 Nov 5:00 pm Jeff Dozier, Tom Dunne, & Carl Legleiter (via e-mail to Carl) Estimation of the Impact of Climate Change on Water Resources in the Sierra Nevada Statement of the Problem As scientists, planners, and public officials, increase their confidence that global warming is likely to occur, they focus attention on what specific, regional changes are likely to happen, and what effects these climatic changes will have on resources dear to our hearts, or at least our responsibilities. A resource of vital importance to the California economy is the Sierra Nevada snow pack, which conveniently stores water that falls in autumn and winter, and releases it dur- ing spring and summer, when it is most useful for irrigation and municipal use. As early as the late 1980s, some hydrologists, water supply engineers and planners began asking what would be the implications for the seasonal patterns of California stream flows if cli- mate warmed slightly. Would there be more rain and less snow? Would the rain flow immediately to rivers, diminishing the stored resource and augmenting the flood hazard? Would soils dry out earlier in spring or summer, exacerbating drought? How much more reservoir storage would California need to replace the free storage function of the snow pack (an ecosystem service, or at least a landscape service, if ever there were one)? From 1987 to the present, there have been attempts to provide coarse-grained, but quanti-
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This note was uploaded on 08/06/2008 for the course ESM 203 taught by Professor Dozier,dunne during the Fall '07 term at UCSB.

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03SierraWaterBalance2007 - ESM 203: Earth System Science...

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