Knowledge of current climate and projections for the future are an important part of the Mountain Accord process. Court Strong (University of Utah), Tim Bardsley (Western Water Assessment), and I have been providing guidance and analyses to the Mountain Accord team to assist them in this effort, and I thought I would share some of the key graphs and figures below, as I thought they would be of interest to many readers.
One key point with regards to climate model projections for the Central Wasatch Range. It's difficult to imagine a situation in which our climate does not warm, barring some dramatic change in volcanic activity, decrease in the output of the sun, or calamity to civilization. Indeed, the models consistently project a warmer future, with the rate of warming varying depending on future greenhouse gas emissions and the model. Precipitation (liquid precipitation equivalent), however, is more uncertain and the models produce a wide range of future outcomes, some drier, some wetter, and some near current averages.
Monthly Runoff Sensitivity
Annual Runoff Sensitivity
Greenhouse Gas Scenarios for the Future
|Greenhouse gas concentration trajectories (CO2) equivalent adopted by the IPCC for its fifth assessment report, 2013 (AR5). Source: RCP Database version 2.0.5, http://tntcat.iiasa.ac.at:8787/RcpDb/dsd?Action=htmlpage&page=compare.
Projected Seasonal and Annual Temperature Change for the Central Wasatch Region
Projected Precipitation Trends
Mean Trends in Snow Related Variables