Presentation Abstract

River temperatures are increasing as a results of climate change, and combined with decreased summertime flows, coldwater species are becoming increasingly stressed. In order to conserve sensitive species, managers need an estimate of how the availability of summertime thermal refuges in rivers will change in the future. Here, we applied the DHSVM-RBM, an existing process-based water temperature model that has been shown to accurately represent temporal variance in water temperature over hours to years. We calibrated this model to empirical data for two case study watersheds (Siletz River, Oregon and Snoqualmie River, Washington) to also ensure representation of observed spatial heterogeneity during summer. We used the model to predict future spatiotemporal patterns in water temperature that may arise as a result of climate change and to assess Pacific salmon vulnerability. We then compared our predictions to those made by statistical models to assess the unique benefits and constraints of a process-based approach. We found that a substantial decrease of snowmelt, and subsequently summer flow, will drive increases in water temperature and spatial variability in future summers. Our vulnerability analysis suggested that for salmon and steelhead exposed to warm August temperatures, conditions are already stressful in lower portions of the case study watersheds, and unlikely to become better in the future. All models predicted generally similar spatial patterns of water temperature in the future; across models, future cool patches will be reduced in number and located farther upstream. However, projected increases in water temperature were strikingly different among models, ranging from about +5 oC in the Snoqualmie River as predicted by DHSVM-RBM, to a negligible change in both watersheds as predicted by statistical methods. This information can be used to identify locations where protection and restoration of coolwater habitats may be most important into the future.

Session Title

Transcending the Land-Ocean Boundary. Responses of Ecosystem Process to Climate and Human Impacts Across a Wide Spectrum of Processes, Habitats and Space

Keywords

Clod water habitats, Climate change, Process-based model, Spatial pattern of water temperature

Conference Track

SSE16: Long-Term Monitoring of Salish Sea Ecosystems

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (Seattle, WA : 2018)

Document Type

Event

SSEC Identifier

SSE16-60

Start Date

5-4-2018 1:45 PM

End Date

5-4-2018 2:00 PM

Type of Presentation

Oral

Contributing Repository

Digital content made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Geographic Coverage

Salish Sea (B.C. and Wash.)

Rights

This resource is displayed for educational purposes only and may be subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. For more information about rights or obtaining copies of this resource, please contact University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103, USA (360-650-7534; heritage.resources@wwu.edu) and refer to the collection name and identifier. Any materials cited must be attributed to the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Records, University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Type

text

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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Apr 5th, 1:45 PM Apr 5th, 2:00 PM

Space matters: incorporating mechanistically determined spatial patterns into projected impacts of climate change on stream temperature

River temperatures are increasing as a results of climate change, and combined with decreased summertime flows, coldwater species are becoming increasingly stressed. In order to conserve sensitive species, managers need an estimate of how the availability of summertime thermal refuges in rivers will change in the future. Here, we applied the DHSVM-RBM, an existing process-based water temperature model that has been shown to accurately represent temporal variance in water temperature over hours to years. We calibrated this model to empirical data for two case study watersheds (Siletz River, Oregon and Snoqualmie River, Washington) to also ensure representation of observed spatial heterogeneity during summer. We used the model to predict future spatiotemporal patterns in water temperature that may arise as a result of climate change and to assess Pacific salmon vulnerability. We then compared our predictions to those made by statistical models to assess the unique benefits and constraints of a process-based approach. We found that a substantial decrease of snowmelt, and subsequently summer flow, will drive increases in water temperature and spatial variability in future summers. Our vulnerability analysis suggested that for salmon and steelhead exposed to warm August temperatures, conditions are already stressful in lower portions of the case study watersheds, and unlikely to become better in the future. All models predicted generally similar spatial patterns of water temperature in the future; across models, future cool patches will be reduced in number and located farther upstream. However, projected increases in water temperature were strikingly different among models, ranging from about +5 oC in the Snoqualmie River as predicted by DHSVM-RBM, to a negligible change in both watersheds as predicted by statistical methods. This information can be used to identify locations where protection and restoration of coolwater habitats may be most important into the future.