According to current consensus, the world will become warmer over the next century as greenhouse gases continue to accumulate in the atmosphere (see Levine, Chapter 1, this volume; Slade, 1990). Changes in atmospheric circulation patterns will lead to geographic adjustments in climate and thereby affect regional and local hydrologic cycles, but in ways that are currently difficult to predict. For example, precipitation in climatically distinct regions may change by ± 20% and runoff may change by ± 50% (Schneider et al., 1990). Substantial regional shifts in climate may alter not only the quantity of runoff but its variability and timing as well. Because many ecological processes are regulated by the quantity and the temporal distribution of streamflow, major alterations in hydrologic regimes are likely to result in modifications of freshwater ecosystem structure and function.
|Title of host publication||Global Climate Change and Freshwater Ecosystems|
|Editors||Penelope Firth, Stuart Fisher|
|Place of Publication||New York|
|Publication status||Published - 1992|