Mountain rivers provide an important water resource to agriculture, fisheries, summer recreation, hydroelectric power, and local communities. River flow usually ramps up in the spring and peaks in the early summer before dwindling as the winter snowpack melts away. How will this change in the future?

Global climate models can provide insights into future mountain river flow, but similar to snowpack, suffer from poor skill in simulating precipitation, particularly in mountain regions. Nevertheless, as snowpack declines and rain replaces snow, the peak in river flow will shift earlier in the year at the expense of summer flow. What these predictions lack are the effects of glacier and snowfield change.

CCC provides this information. Glacier and permanent snowfield melt sustain mountain rivers after the prior winter's snow is gone. When glaciers and snowfields diminish and disappear, the river flow in summer will drop to potentially near zero, being sustained only by groundwater flow. Carlson Climate Consulting will provide you the critical information necessary to plan for this impactful transition in river basins to when summer river flow is no longer supported by glaciers and permanent snowfields. Likewise, this will also aid in predicting river temperature once the meltwater from glaciers and snowfields is gone. 

If you are in an industry, government or community interested in future changes in mountain river flow and when it will fundamentally change, then you should contact Carlson Climate Consulting for the answers. 

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