The Salt and Verde River Basins in northeastern Arizona are a vital source of fresh water for the greater Phoenix metropolitan area and for two tribal reservations that rely on the basins’ natural resources for their livelihood. Winter precipitation in this region is modulated by the occurrence of narrow river-like corridors of water vapor in the atmosphere, or atmospheric rivers (ARs), that replenish reservoirs, maintain natural ecosystem health, and alleviate droughts. However, these ARs are also linked to the basins’ most intense storms that can cause flooding, resulting in turbid waters that are not treatable for human consumption. This project is examining how the hydrology of the Salt and Verde river basins have responded to extreme AR events in the past, how these events are affected by natural climate variability, and how they might be affected by future warmer temperatures. The project’s outputs will give natural resource managers and local tribes improved seasonal predictability and a better understanding of the possible changes that ARs might bring to their watershed as the result of climate change.
Hydrologic Response of Atmospheric River Events in the Salt and Verde river basins: Climatology and Possible Future Changes
Project Start Year
- Eleonora Demaria, USDA-ARS
- ltinderjot Singh, University of Illinois
- Huancui Hu, University of Illinois
State and tribal water managers and NGOs (Salt River Project, White Apache tribe, Nature Conservancy)