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With increasing concerns about the impact of warming temperatures on water resources, more attention is being paid the relationship between runoff and precipitation, or runoff efficiency. Temperature is a key influence on Colorado River runoff efficiency, and warming temperatures are projected to reduce runoff efficiency. Here, we investigate the nature of runoff efficiency in the upper Colorado River (UCRB) basin over the past 400 years, with a specific focus on major droughts and pluvials, and to contextualize the instrumental period. We first verify the feasibility of reconstructing runoff efficiency from tree-ring data. The reconstruction is then used to evaluate variability in runoff efficiency over periods...
Despite the extensive network of moisture-sensitive tree-ring chronologies in western North America, relatively few are long enough to document climatic variability before and during the Medieval Climate Anomaly (MCA) ca. AD 800-1300. We developed a 2300-yr tree-ring chronology extending to 323 BC utilizing live and remnant Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) from the Tavaputs Plateau in northeastern Utah. A resulting regression model accounts for 70% of the variance of precipitation for the AD 1918–2005 calibration period. Extreme wet and dry periods without modern analogues were identified in the reconstruction. The MCA is marked by several prolonged droughts, especially prominent in the mid AD 1100s and late...


    map background search result map search result map Multi-century reconstructions of temperature, precipitation, and runoff efficiency for the Upper Colorado River Basin Multi-century reconstructions of temperature, precipitation, and runoff efficiency for the Upper Colorado River Basin