September 10, 2009
Pacific Northwest: Dry years getting drier
The U.S. Forest Service says it has determined the Pacific Northwest's dry years are becoming drier as a result of climate change.
Forest Service researchers Charlie Luce and Z.A. Holden said most recent studies of annual streamflow in the Pacific Northwest have looked at mean or median streamflows and have found little or no change during recent decades. But Luce and Holden say it's important to know the severity of dry spells -- a subject that has not been studied as thoroughly.
The scientists conclude dry years have been getting substantially drier and water managers who must cope with water scarcity and its ecological consequences will face increasing challenges as the trends continue.
The study is reported in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.