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Title: Efficiency of the Summer Monsoon in Generating Streamflow Within a Snow‐Dominated Headwater Basin of the Colorado River

Abstract

The North American Monsoon occurs July–September in the central Rocky Mountains bringing significant rainfall to Colorado River headwater basins. This rain may buffer streamflow deficiencies caused by reductions in snow accumulation. Using a data-modeling framework, we explore the importance of monsoon rain in streamflow generation over historical conditions in an alpine basin. Annually, monsoon rain contributes 18 ± 7% water inputs and generates 10 ± 6% streamflow. The bulk of rain supports evapotranspiration in lower subalpine forests. However, rains have the potential to produce appreciable streamflow at higher elevations where soil moisture storage, forest cover, and aridity are low and rebound late season streamflow 64 ± 13% from simulated reductions in spring snowpack as a function of monsoon strength. Interannual variability in monsoon efficiency to generate streamflow declines with low snowpack and high aridity, implying the ability of monsoons to replenish streamflow in a warmer future with less snow accumulation will diminish.

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [2]; ORCiD logo [3]
  1. Desert Research Institute Reno NV USA, Rocky Mountain Biological Lab Gothic CO USA
  2. National Center for Atmospheric Research Boulder CO USA
  3. Rocky Mountain Biological Lab Gothic CO USA, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Berkeley CA USA
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER)
OSTI Identifier:
1734378
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1760266; OSTI ID: 1786643
Grant/Contract Number:  
DE‐AC02‐05CH11231; AC02-05CH11231; SC0019222
Resource Type:
Published Article
Journal Name:
Geophysical Research Letters
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Geophysical Research Letters Journal Volume: 47 Journal Issue: 23; Journal ID: ISSN 0094-8276
Publisher:
American Geophysical Union
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; East River; evapotranspiration; North American monsoon; numerical model; snowmelt; streamflow

Citation Formats

Carroll, Rosemary W. H., Gochis, David, and Williams, Kenneth H.. Efficiency of the Summer Monsoon in Generating Streamflow Within a Snow‐Dominated Headwater Basin of the Colorado River. United States: N. p., 2020. Web. https://doi.org/10.1029/2020GL090856.
Carroll, Rosemary W. H., Gochis, David, & Williams, Kenneth H.. Efficiency of the Summer Monsoon in Generating Streamflow Within a Snow‐Dominated Headwater Basin of the Colorado River. United States. https://doi.org/10.1029/2020GL090856
Carroll, Rosemary W. H., Gochis, David, and Williams, Kenneth H.. Sat . "Efficiency of the Summer Monsoon in Generating Streamflow Within a Snow‐Dominated Headwater Basin of the Colorado River". United States. https://doi.org/10.1029/2020GL090856.
@article{osti_1734378,
title = {Efficiency of the Summer Monsoon in Generating Streamflow Within a Snow‐Dominated Headwater Basin of the Colorado River},
author = {Carroll, Rosemary W. H. and Gochis, David and Williams, Kenneth H.},
abstractNote = {The North American Monsoon occurs July–September in the central Rocky Mountains bringing significant rainfall to Colorado River headwater basins. This rain may buffer streamflow deficiencies caused by reductions in snow accumulation. Using a data-modeling framework, we explore the importance of monsoon rain in streamflow generation over historical conditions in an alpine basin. Annually, monsoon rain contributes 18 ± 7% water inputs and generates 10 ± 6% streamflow. The bulk of rain supports evapotranspiration in lower subalpine forests. However, rains have the potential to produce appreciable streamflow at higher elevations where soil moisture storage, forest cover, and aridity are low and rebound late season streamflow 64 ± 13% from simulated reductions in spring snowpack as a function of monsoon strength. Interannual variability in monsoon efficiency to generate streamflow declines with low snowpack and high aridity, implying the ability of monsoons to replenish streamflow in a warmer future with less snow accumulation will diminish.},
doi = {10.1029/2020GL090856},
journal = {Geophysical Research Letters},
number = 23,
volume = 47,
place = {United States},
year = {2020},
month = {12}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record
https://doi.org/10.1029/2020GL090856

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