EPSCoR - Alaska Adapting to Changing Environments

EPSCoR - Alaska Adapting to Changing Environments

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Spatial and temporal variability of freshwater discharge into the Gulf of Alaska

A study of the freshwater discharge into the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) has been carried out. Using available streamgage data, regression equations were developed for monthly flows. These equations express discharge as a function of basin physical characteristics such as area, mean elevation, and land cover, and of basin meteorological characteristics such as temperature, precipitation, and accumulated water year precipitation. To provide the necessary input meteorological data, temperature and precipitation data for a 40 year hind-cast period were developed on high-spatial-resolution grids using weather station data, PRISM climatologies, and statistical downscaling methods. Runoff predictions from the equations were found to agree well with observations. Once developed, the regression equations were applied to a network of delineated watersheds spanning the entire GOA drainage basin. The region was divided into a northern region, ranging from the Aleutian Chain to the Alaska/Canada border in the southeast panhandle, and a southern region, ranging from there to the Fraser River. The mean annual runoff volume into the northern GOA region was found to be 792 ± 120 km3 yr−1. A water balance using MODIS-based evapotranspiration rates yielded seasonal storage volumes that were consistent with GRACE satellite-based estimates. The GRACE data suggest that an additional 57 ± 11 km3 yr−1 be added to the runoff from the northern region, due to glacier volume loss (GVL) in recent years. This yields a total value of 849 ± 121 km3 yr−1. The ease of application of the derived regression equations provides an accessible tool for quantifying mean annual values, seasonal variation, and interannual variability of runoff in any ungaged basin of interest.

Data and Resources

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Status: Complete
Type: Project
Data Types: Report
Primary Contact
Pyare, Sanjay
Email: sanjay.pyare@uas.alaska.edu
Work: 907-796-6007
Primary Agency
EPSCoR - Alaska Adapting to Changing Environments

Funding Agency
EPSCoR - Alaska Adapting to Changing Environments

Other Agencies
National Science Foundation

ISO Topics


Southeast Test Case

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  • 01c8ceef3d596f40f05bf496ca00d929
    Published by Lisa
    2016-09-12 15:08:54 -0800
  • 01c8ceef3d596f40f05bf496ca00d929
    Updated by Lisa
    2016-09-12 15:08:20 -0800
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    New record created
    2016-09-09 13:47:02 -0800