A framework for effective use of hydroclimate models in climate-change adaptation planning for managed habitats with limited hydrologic response data

Environmental Management
By: , and 

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Abstract

Climate-change adaptation planning for managed wetlands is challenging under uncertain futures when the impact of historic climate variability on wetland response is unquantified. We assessed vulnerability of Modoc National Wildlife Refuge (MNWR) through use of the Basin Characterization Model (BCM) landscape hydrology model, and six global climate models, representing projected wetter and drier conditions. We further developed a conceptual model that provides greater value for water managers by incorporating the BCM outputs into a conceptual framework that links modeled parameters to refuge management outcomes. This framework was used to identify landscape hydrology parameters that reflect refuge sensitivity to changes in (1) climatic water deficit (CWD) and recharge, and (2) the magnitude, timing, and frequency of water inputs. BCM outputs were developed for 1981–2100 to assess changes and forecast the probability of experiencing wet and dry water year types that have historically resulted in challenging conditions for refuge habitat management. We used a Yule’s Q skill score to estimate the probability of modeled discharge that best represents historic water year types. CWD increased in all models across 72.3–100 % of the water supply basin by 2100. Earlier timing in discharge, greater cool season discharge, and lesser irrigation season water supply were predicted by most models. Under the worst-case scenario, moderately dry years increased from 10–20 to 40–60 % by 2100. MNWR could adapt by storing additional water during the cool season for later use and prioritizing irrigation of habitats during dry years.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title A framework for effective use of hydroclimate models in climate-change adaptation planning for managed habitats with limited hydrologic response data
Series title Environmental Management
DOI 10.1007/s00267-015-0569-y
Volume 58
Issue 1
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher Springer
Contributing office(s) California Water Science Center
Description 16 p.
First page 60
Last page 75
Country United States
State California
City Alturas
Other Geospatial Modoc National Wildlife Refuge