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Special Issue "Effects of Climate Change on the Hydrology and Water Quality of Snow-Dominated Mountainous Environments"

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 28 February 2018

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Graham A. Sexstone

US Geological Survey, Denver, CO 80225, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: snow hydrology; mountain hydrology; hydrometeorology; climate change; water availability; snow chemistry; atmospheric deposition
Guest Editor
Dr. David W. Clow

US Geological Survey, Denver, CO 80225, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: biogeochemistry; mountain environments; atmospheric pollution; climate change; snowpack

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In many mountainous regions of the world, water for ecological and human needs is derived from snow that accumulates during the winter and spring, and melts during the spring and summer each year. These seasonal snowpacks serve as large natural water reservoirs that are particular sensitive to effects of climate warming, including shifts in the fraction of precipitation falling as snow versus rain, lower peak snow water content, earlier snowmelt timing, and shorter snow-cover duration. Changes to snow dynamics can profoundly influence the hydrology and water quality of snow-dominated mountainous environments. Given projected changes to air temperature and precipitation in mountains of the globe, there is an urgent need for improved understanding of how both water availability and water quality will respond to changing snowpack conditions. In this Special Issue of Water, we invite submissions focusing on the effects of climate change on the hydrology and water quality of snow-dominated mountainous regions through field-based investigations, remote sensing observations, and/or modeling experiments. We encourage papers that focus on how changes to snow dynamics will influence the timing and magnitude of streamflow runoff, hydrologic flowpaths, soil moisture, and biogeochemical nutrient cycling.

Dr. Graham A. Sexstone
Dr. David W. Clow
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Water is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Climate change
  • Mountains
  • Snow hydrology
  • Hydrologic pathways
  • Streamflow generation
  • Water quality
  • Biogeochemistry

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Climate Change Impacts on Flow and Suspended Sediment Yield in Headwaters of High-Latitude Regions—A Case Study in China’s Far Northeast
Water 2017, 9(12), 966; doi:10.3390/w9120966
Received: 10 October 2017 / Revised: 15 November 2017 / Accepted: 7 December 2017 / Published: 11 December 2017
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Abstract
Climate change is expected to have stronger effects on water resources in higher latitude regions. Despite intensive research on possible hydrological responses in those regions to a warmer environment, our knowledge on erosion and sediment yield induced by the climate change in high-latitude
[...] Read more.
Climate change is expected to have stronger effects on water resources in higher latitude regions. Despite intensive research on possible hydrological responses in those regions to a warmer environment, our knowledge on erosion and sediment yield induced by the climate change in high-latitude headwaters is still limited. In this study, we estimated suspended sediment yields from 2021 to 2050 in a typical headwater area of far Northeast China to elucidate potential impacts of future climate change on surface runoff and erosion in higher latitude regions. We first parameterized the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) using historical measurements to estimate runoff from the river basin. The model performed well in both the calibration (2006–2011) and the validation (2012–2014) periods, with an R2 of 0.85 and 0.88 and a Nash-Sutcliffe Efficiency (NSE) of 0.7 and 0.73, respectively. We also utilized historical measurements on sediment yields from the period 2006–2014 to develop a runoff-sediment yield rating curve, and the rating curve obtained an excellent goodness of fit (R2 = 0.91, p < 0.001). We then applied the calibrated SWAT model to two climate change projections, also known as Representative Concentration Pathways (RCP4.5 and RCP8.5), for the period from 2021 to 2050 to obtain future runoff estimates. These runoff estimates were then used to predict future sediment yield by using the developed runoff-sediment yield rating curve. Our study found a significant increase of annual sediment yield (p < 0.05) for both climate change projections (RCP4.5 = 237%; RCP8.5 = 133%) in this, China’s high-latitude region. The increases of sediment yield were prevalent in summer and autumn, varying from 102–299% between the two RCPs scenarios. Precipitation was the dominated factor that determined the variation of runoff and sediment yield. A warming climate could bring more snowmelt-induced spring runoff and longer rainy days in autumn, hence leading to higher erosion. These findings demonstrate that under the changing climate, soils in this high-latitude headwater area would be eroded twice to three times that of the baseline period (1981–2010), indicating a potential risk to the downstream water quality and reservoir management. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Spatial and Temporal Variations of Snow Cover in the Karoon River Basin, Iran, 2003–2015
Water 2017, 9(12), 965; doi:10.3390/w9120965
Received: 25 September 2017 / Revised: 17 November 2017 / Accepted: 6 December 2017 / Published: 11 December 2017
PDF Full-text (4497 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The Karoon River Basin, with an area of about 67,000 km2, is located in the southern part of Iran and has a complex mountainous terrain. No comprehensive study has been done on the spatial and temporal variations of snow cover in
[...] Read more.
The Karoon River Basin, with an area of about 67,000 km2, is located in the southern part of Iran and has a complex mountainous terrain. No comprehensive study has been done on the spatial and temporal variations of snow cover in this region to date. In this paper, daily snow data of Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer MODIS Terra (MOD10A1) and MODIS Aqua (MYD10A1) were examined from 1 January 2003 to 31 December 2015, to analyze snow cover variations. Due to difficulties created by cloud cover effects, it was crucial to reduce cloud contamination in the daily time series. Therefore, two common cloud removal methods were applied on the daily data. The results suggested that in winter nearly 43% of the Basin’s area experienced a negative trend, while only 1.4% of the Basin had a positive trend for snow-covered days (SCD); trends in fall and spring were less evident in the data. Using a digital elevation model of the Basin, the trends of SCD in 100 m elevation intervals were calculated, indicating a significant positive trend in SCD during the fall season above 3500 m. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Winter Snow Level Rise in the Northern Sierra Nevada from 2008 to 2017
Water 2017, 9(11), 899; doi:10.3390/w9110899
Received: 10 October 2017 / Revised: 14 November 2017 / Accepted: 15 November 2017 / Published: 18 November 2017
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Abstract
The partitioning of precipitation into frozen and liquid components influences snow-derived water resources and flood hazards in mountain environments. We used a 915-MHz Doppler radar wind profiler upstream of the northern Sierra Nevada to estimate the hourly elevation where snow melts to rain,
[...] Read more.
The partitioning of precipitation into frozen and liquid components influences snow-derived water resources and flood hazards in mountain environments. We used a 915-MHz Doppler radar wind profiler upstream of the northern Sierra Nevada to estimate the hourly elevation where snow melts to rain, or the snow level, during winter (December–February) precipitation events spanning water years (WY) 2008–2017. During this ten-year period, a Mann-Kendall test indicated a significant (p < 0.001) positive trend in snow level with a Thiel-Sen slope of 72 m year−1. We estimated total precipitation falling as snow (snow fraction) between WY1951 and 2017 using nine daily mid-elevation (1200–2000 m) climate stations and two hourly stations spanning WY2008–2017. The climate-station-based snow fraction estimates agreed well with snow-level radar values (R2 = 0.95, p < 0.01), indicating that snow fractions represent a reasonable method to estimate changes in frozen precipitation. Snow fraction significantly (p < 0.001) declined during WY2008–2017 at a rate of 0.035 (3.5%) year−1. Single-point correlations between detrended snow fraction and sea-surface temperatures (SST) suggested that positive SST anomalies along the California coast favor liquid phase precipitation during winter. Reanalysis-derived integrated moisture transported upstream of the northern Sierra Nevada was negatively correlated with snow fraction (R2 = 0.90, p < 0.01), with atmospheric rivers representing the likely circulation mechanism producing low-snow-fraction storms. Full article
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