Skip to Main Content
Increasing synchrony of high temperature and low flow in western North American streams: Double trouble for coldwater biota?Author(s): Ivan Arismendi; Mohammad Safeeq; Sherri L. Johnson; Jason B Dunham; Roy Haggerty
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
Download Publication (470.4 KB)
DescriptionFlow and temperature are strongly linked environmental factors driving ecosystem processes in streams. Stream temperature maxima (Tmax_w) and stream flow minima (Qmin) can create periods of stress for aquatic organisms. In mountainous areas, such as western North America, recent shifts toward an earlier spring peak flow and decreases in low flow during summer/fall have been reported. We hypothesized that an earlier peak flow could be shifting the timing of low flow and leading to a decrease in the interval between Tmax_w and Qmin. We also examined if years with extreme low Qmin were associated with years of extreme high Tmax_w. We tested these hypotheses using long-term data from 22 minimally human influenced streams for the period 1950–2010. We found trends toward a shorter time lag between Tmax_w and Qmin over time and a strong negative association between their magnitudes. Our findings show that aquatic biota may be increasingly experiencing narrower time windows to recover or adapt between these extreme events of low flow and high temperature. This study highlights the importance of evaluating multiple environmental drivers to better gage the effects of the recent climate variability in freshwaters.
- Visit PNW's Publication Request Page to request a hard copy of this publication.
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
CitationArismendi, Ivan; Safeeq, Mohammad; Johnson, Sherri L.; Dunham, Jason B; Haggerty, Roy. 2013. Increasing synchrony of high temperature and low flow in western North American streams: Double trouble for coldwater biota? Hydrobiologia. 712: 61-70.
KeywordsClimate change, Freshwater, ecosystems, Hydrology, Temperature, Hydroclimatology
- Fire history of oakpine forests in the Lower Boston Mountains, Arkansas, USA
- Potential effects of climate change on freshwater ecosystems of the New England/Mid-Atlantic Region
- The paradox of cooling streams in a warming world: regional climate trends do not parallel variable local trends in stream temperature in the Pacific continental United States
XML: View XML