The Policy & Practice of Climate Change & Water

Riverine habitats

Geomorphic & Climatic Controls on Water Temperature & Streambed Scour, Copper R. Delta, AK

Geomorphic & Climatic Controls on Water Temperature & Streambed Scour, Copper River Delta, AK: Implications for Understanding Climate Change Impacts to the Pacific Salmon Egg Incubation Environment

Climatic changes are projected to impact Pacific Salmon egg incubation by increasing the magnitude and frequency of winter floods and by raising water temperatures. More powerful and more frequent winter floods could reduce the survival of salmon eggs by increasing streambed scour. Projected increases in water temperature may accelerate embryo development, impacting juvenile viability.

Researchers collected water temperature and stream stage data year-round and surveyed channel geometry at salmon spawning reaches on the Copper River Delta, a large coastal foreland in South-central Alaska. They calculated streambed scour and compared water temperatures during climatological mean and anomalously warm incubation periods to elucidate potential climate change impacts.

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