Drought and Climate Change

Selected research papers, reports, and other resources which show the current state-of-knowledge and the progress in our understanding of the variability of climate and hydrology in the Colorado River Basin and the potential impacts of future climate change.

Paleoclimatic (Tree-ring) Reconstructions

TreeFlow: Streamflow Reconstructions for the Western U.S.
- Upper Colorado River Basin
- Lower Colorado River Basin

Colorado River Streamflow: A Paleo Perspective

Long-Term Surface-Water Supply and Streamflow Trends in the Upper Colorado River Basin Based on Tree-Ring Analysis (1976) by C.W. Stockton and G.C. Jacoby. The first "modern" tree-ring reconstructions of streamflow in the Upper Colorado River Basin, while superseded by later work, is still a landmark in our understanding of the hydrologic history of the basin.

Observed (Post-1900) Climate and Hydrology

Declining mountain snowpack in western North America. (2005). Mote, P. W., A. F. Hamlet, M. Clark, and D. P. Lettenmaier. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 86(1):39-49.
Cover story of the Jaunary 2005 edition of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.  This research shows that while there has been a decline in snowpack in the Pacific Northwest, there is not a similar signal in the Colorado River Basin.

Colorado River Basin Water Management: Evaluating and Adjusting to Hydroclimatic Variability, (Executive Summary) The National Academies Press, February 2007
Full Report Available through the National Academies Press

Precipitation History of the Colorado Plateau Region, 1900-2000 (2002). Fact Sheet published by the USGS.


Future Projections of Streamflow and Climate - Most Recent

WWA Climate Change in Colorado Report (2008) - Section 5-3 discusses projected hydrologic changes in the Colorado River Basin.

Model projections of an imminent transition to a more arid climate in southwestern North America
R. Seager et al. (2007) Science