The Impacts of Climate Change on Water in the Northwest

A waterfall

Hydrologic changes are projected to be profound under climate change, and a warmer and wetter future for the Pacific Northwest is expected.

Nate Mantua
University of Washington, Climate Impacts Group
USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station

Producer - Michael Furniss
Videography - Ben Nieves
Technical production - Jeffrey Guntle

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In the Pacific Northwest, average temperatures have been warming over the past century, somewhat more than the global average increase. The frequency of cold spells has decreased markedly. We do not see clear trends in precipitation, and variability is much greater than any subtle trends we might infer. The timing of snowmelt has been shifting to earlier in the spring.

You should gain an understanding of:: 

Projected impacts of climate change on water in the Pacific Northwest.

Temperature trends, historical annual precipitation, observations of glacier retreat, declines in low elevation snowpack, timing shifts in snowmelt runoff, temperature dependent streamflow patterns and rising water temperatures.

Changes in water-related extremes, including increased river flooding.

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