Year of Award
Thesis - Campus Access Only
Master of Science (MS)
Other Degree Name/Area of Focus
Department or School/College
College of Forestry and Conservation
Jim Riddering, Marco Maneta
climate change, hydrology, snowmelt model, surface water
University of Montana
This study hypothesizes the effects of global climate change on the hydrologic regime of West-Central Montana, focusing on the North Fork of Elk Creek, a 6.6 km2 (2.6 mi²) Experimental Watershed. This is important to understand in snowmelt-dominated watersheds, as it is already well documented by current trends and future climate projections that the natural hydrologic regime is experiencing alterations. There have been shifts in the 20th century of the timing of snowmelt trending towards an earlier spring peak flows and declines in the overall snow water equivalent (Regonda et al., 2005; Mote et al., 2005; Hamlet et al., 2005). The goals for this study are to analyze for significant changes in the timing of important hydrologic events, and determine how discharge throughout the year will be altered in the Elk Creek Experimental Watershed (ECEW). To address these issues, a semi-spatial hydrologic model is employed, and run using current meteorological data and under downscaled climate-change scenarios conditions, under three relevant time periods. Snowmelt Runoff Model (SRM) is deterministic and conceptual and is used to generate streamflow in snowmelt dominated basins by the degree-day method (Martinec, 1985). Data is gathered from two SNOTEL sites located within the watershed and streamflow collected directly on the North Fork of Elk Creek. The specific metrics that will be statistically analyzed are mean summer and winter flows, and trends in peak flow and center of mass date timing (Wenger et al., 2009; Regonda et al., 2005). These results can be useful for management purposes because changes in the way water is released from the mountains affects water storage, flooding, and overall watershed resilience such that current practices may need to be accordingly adjusted.
Jorgensen, Katie Marie, "Modeling the potential impacts of climate change on streamflow variability in the North Fork of Elk Creek Experimental Watershed, West-Central, Montana" (2012). Graduate Student Theses, Dissertations, & Professional Papers. 673.
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© Copyright 2012 Katie Marie Jorgensen