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A new method for automatic detection of atmospheric rivers (ARs) is developed and applied to an atmospheric reanalysis, yielding an extensive catalog of ARs land-falling along the west coast of North America during 1948–2017. This catalog provides a large array of variables that can be used to examine AR cases and their climate-scale variability in exceptional detail. The new record of AR activity, as presented, validated and examined here, provides a perspective on the seasonal cycle and the interannual-interdecadal variability of AR activity affecting the hydroclimate of western North America. Importantly, AR intensity does not exactly follow the climatological pattern of AR frequency. Strong links to hydroclimate...
Abstract: P-band interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) data at 5 m resolution from Kahiltna Glacier, the largest glacier in the Alaska Range, Alaska, USA, show pronounced spatial variation in penetration depth, δ P. We obtained δ P by differencing X- and P-band digital elevation models. δ P varied significantly over the glacier, but it was possible to distinguish representative zones. In the accumulation area, δ P decreased with decreasing elevation from 18±3 m in the percolation zone to 10±4 m in the wet snow zone. In the central portion of the ablation area, a location free of debris and crevasses, we identified a zone of very high δ P (34±4 m) which decreased at lower elevations (23±3 m in bare ice...
Abstract: A significant number of historically existing wetlands that naturally stored rainwater and attenuated flood peaks have now been drained and employed as new farming areas. Beyond the water quality and flow problem, this has resulted in loss of natural habitats of diverse ecological species. Restoring wetlands have hence been proposed as a potential conservation strategy to help attenuate many of these problems. In this study a spatial, multi-objective optimization study of new potential wetlands was carried out to achieve biodiversity improvements in addition to flood reduction benefits and water quality improvements. The Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) was used to simulate flow and water quality,...
Efforts to conserve stream and river biota could benefit from tools that allow managers to evaluate landscape-scale changes in species distributions in response to water management decisions. We present a framework and methods for integrating hydrology, geographic context and metapopulation processes to simulate effects of changes in streamflow on fish occupancy dynamics across a landscape of interconnected stream segments. We illustrate this approach using a 482 km2 catchment in the southeastern US supporting 50 or more stream fish species. A spatially distributed, deterministic and physically based hydrologic model is used to simulate daily streamflow for sub-basins composing the catchment. We use geographic data...
Summary Human activities have historically affected hydrology in the upper Midwestern United States, specifically through the conversion of forests and prairie grasslands to agricultural uses. The hydrologic impacts of land-use change due to settlement on the water balance of three Great Lakes states: Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan were analyzed using the Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) large-scale hydrology model, and changes in the spatial distribution of vegetation types were studied. Point model simulations demonstrated that the VIC model simulated changes in average annual and monthly evapotranspiration (ET) and total runoff response were in the same direction and had similar magnitudes to values from...
Nuisance blooms of heterocystous Cyanobacteria in Lake Winnipeg have nearly doubled in size since the mid 1990s. The increases are the result of a recent rapid increase in loading and concentration of phosphorus. The rapid increase in phosphorus is largely the result of two factors. The first factor is the result of rapidly increased livestock production and use of synthetic fertilizer in the Red River Valley, with smaller contributions of phosphorus from the city of Winnipeg and other human development in the Red and Winnipeg river basins. The second factor is the increased frequency and intensity of spring floods in the Red River watershed in recent years, which have greatly enhanced the transfer of phosphorus...
Six small, predominantly agricultural (> 70%) watersheds in the Conesus Lake catchment of New York State, USA, were selected to test the impact of Best Management Practices (BMPs) on mitigation of nonpoint nutrient sources and soil loss from farms to downstream aquatic systems. Over a 5-year period, intensive stream water monitoring and analysis of covariance provided estimates of marginal means of concentration and loading for each year weighted by covariate discharge. Significant reductions in total phosphorus, soluble reactive phosphorus, nitrate, total Kjeldahl nitrogen, and total suspended solids concentration and flux occurred by the second year and third year of implementation. At Graywood Gully, where Whole...
The purpose of the Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP) cropland national assessment is to quantify the environmental benefits of conservation programs at the regional and national levels, which include both onsite and instream water quality benefits. Modeling is an effective tool for environmental assessment at the regional and national scale due to the complexities in nature at this scale. Two simulation models, the Agricultural Policy Environmental extender (APEX) and the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT), were used for the CEAP cropland national assessment. A subset of National Resources Inventory (NRI) sample points was selected to serve as "representative fields" for the CEAP cropland survey...
Nonpoint source pollution is the leading cause of the U.S.’s water quality problems. One important component of nonpoint source pollution control is an understanding of what and how watershed-scale conditions influence ambient water quality. This paper investigated the use of spatial regression to evaluate the impacts of watershed characteristics on stream NO3NO2-N concentration in the Cedar River Watershed, Iowa. An Arc Hydro geodatabase was constructed to organize various datasets on the watershed. Spatial regression models were developed to evaluate the impacts of watershed characteristics on stream NO3NO2-N concentration and predict NO3NO2-N concentration at unmonitored locations. Unlike the traditional ordinary...
The Raccoon River Watershed in Iowa has received considerable attention in the recent past due to frequent detections of nitrate concentrations above the federal drinking water standard. This paper econometrically investigates the determinants of variation of nitrate concentrations in the Raccoon River. The analysis relies on a generalized autoregressive conditional heteroscedastic process to model the serial dependence of volatility of the monthly nitrate concentrations in the Raccoon River. Monthly nitrate concentration data from Des Moines Water Works at Van Meter from 1992 to 2008 are used in the study. We found no statistically significant increasing trend in nitrate concentrations over the study period. There...
A major focus of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Trout Lake Water, Energy and Biogeochemical Budgets (WEBB) project has been the development of a watershed model to allow predictions of hydrologic response to future conditions including land-use and climate change. Because of the highly conductive nature of the outwash sand aquifer and the topography of the watershed, streamflow is dominated by groundwater contributions; however, runoff does occur during intense rainfall periods and spring snowmelt. The coupled groundwater/surface-water model GSFLOW was chosen for this effort because it could easily incorporate an existing groundwater flow model and provides for simulation of surface-water processes. The model was...
Snowfall is an important part of the yearly water balance for the Catskill Mountains in New York State, the location of water supply reservoirs for New York City. Recent studies have shown that the effects of climate change on the hydrology of the Catskills will most likely create (1) a decrease in the proportion of precipitation falling as snow, (2) a shift in the timing of snowmelt that will cause snowmelt-supplemented streamflow events to occur earlier in the fall and winter, and (3) a decrease in the magnitude of traditionally high April streamflow. The shift in timing of snowmelt-influenced streamflow events is measured by the winter-early spring centre of volume (WSCV), defined as the Julian Day on which half...
Quantitative biological assessment protocols are needed for monitoring river status and evaluating river rehabilitation efforts. We conducted a standardized macroinvertebrate survey at 100 sites on 38 nonwadeable rivers in Wisconsin to construct, test, and apply an index of biotic integrity (IBI) intended to be such a bioassessment tool. We assigned independent samples to IBI development (n = 75) and IBI validation (n = 25) data sets. We placed Hester–Dendy artificial substrates at the sites for 6 wk and processed the samples of colonizing macroinvertebrates in the laboratory with a 500-target subsampling procedure plus a large–rare taxon search. Independent of the biota, we assigned an environmental disturbance...
Abstract: Increasing concerns regarding water quality in the Great Lakes region are mainly due to changes in urban and agricultural landscapes. Both point and non-point sources contribute pollution to Great Lakes surface waters. Best management practices (BMPs) are a common tool used to reduce both point and non-point source pollution and improve water quality. Meanwhile, identification of critical source areas of pollution and placement of BMPs plays an important role in pollution reduction. The goal of this study is to evaluate the performance of different targeting methods in 1) identifying priority areas (high, medium, and low) based on various factors such as pollutant concentration, load, and yield, 2) comparing...
Extensive land-use changes in Iowa have increased erosional processes and the amount of fines deposited on stream beds. Large amounts of fines cover the other bed substrate that are essential habitat for invertebrates and fish. In Iowa and other agricultural Midwestern states, riparian conservation land-uses are being established to minimize sediment inputs to streams. This study compared stream bed substrate composition in reaches adjacent to: riparian forest buffers, grass filters, row-cropped fields, pastures with cattle fenced out of the stream and continuous, rotational and intensively grazed rotational pastures, in three regions of Iowa. The objective was to examine the impacts of the adjacent riparian land-uses...
The U.S. Geological Survey Precipitation-Runoff Modeling System (PRMS) model was applied to basins in 14 different hydroclimatic regions to determine the sensitivity and variability of the freshwater resources of the United States in the face of current climate-change projections. Rather than attempting to choose a most likely scenario from the results of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an ensemble of climate simulations from five models under three emissions scenarios each was used to drive the basin models. Climate-change scenarios were generated for PRMS by modifying historical precipitation and temperature inputs; mean monthly climate change was derived by calculating changes in mean climates...