© 2015 by Salmon Watersheds Lab

River networks integrate large and complex climate-scapes and consequently dampen local signals of climate change

This research demonstrates that river networks, such as the Fraser River, integrate a variety of changing climates across their watersheds'. By integrating this climate-scape, different responses to the changing climate are integrated and averaged downstream. This integration of varied climate signals results in reduced climate change impacts as the network aggregates more area and carries more water. As a result, while smaller watersheds may demonstrate strong signals of changing hydrologic regimes, near the confluence flow regimes remain relatively constant and stationary. 

 

Understanding natural climate change dampening processes can be a powerful tool in reducing the impacts of climate change. Leveraging river networks by promoting sustainable land-use practices and enhancing connectivity may strengthen the dampening properties of these systems and provide multiple returns in safety, stability and resilience

Chezik, K.A., Anderson, S.C. and J.W. Moore. 2017. River networks dampen long-term hydrological signals of climate change. Geophysical Research Letters. 44. doi:10.1002/2017GL074376. (PDF)