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Publication Information

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Title: Hydrologic responses to climate change: considering geographic context and alternative hypotheses

Author: Jones, J.A.;

Date: 2011

Source: Hydrological Processes

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: One of the most significant consequences of climate warming is the likely change in streamflow as a result of warming air temperatures. Hydrologists have responded to the challenge of understanding these effects. Many recent studies quantify historical trends in streamflow and usually attribute these trends to climate warming, via altered evapotranspiration and snowpack (Figure 1.a). However, without questioning the fundamental reality of a warming climate, hydrologists should also consider biotic and social processes whose omission may produce misleading interpretations about climate change effects on hydrology. The aim of this commentary is to raise awareness of ecological and social processes that may confound the interpretation of climate effects on hydrology, to review how the geographic context of streamflow records affects interpretation of the climate signal, and to suggest a 'checklist' of working hypotheses that can be used to structure studies of streamflow responses to climate change.

Keywords: biotic, social processes, streamflow, hydrologic, climate change

Publication Notes:

  • 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.



Jones, J.A. 2011. Hydrologic responses to climate change: considering geographic context and alternative hypotheses. Hydrological Processes. 1031002/hyp.8004: 5 p.


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