Submitted to: American Association for the Advancement of Science Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: February 16, 2003
Publication Date: December 16, 2003
Citation: Hatfield, J.L., Prueger, J.H. 2003. Implication of Climate Change for Watersheds and Water Quality [CD-ROM]. American Association for the Advancement of Science Meeting. Soil & Water Conservation Society. Ames, Iowa.
The water balance within watersheds is dependent upon the mixture of vegetation, the seasonal pattern of precipitation, the seasonal pattern of evapotranspiration, and the types of land management practices. Water quality is impacted by the seasonal water balance coupled with the timing of agricultural operations throughout the year. Water is the primary transport mechanism for runoff or leaching and the seasonal balance determines the potential impact of precipitation patterns. Within watersheds the distribution and timing of agricultural operations determines the potential water quality impacts; however, these assessments are made using our current precipitation patterns. Increasing the intensity of precipitation during the spring will increase the potential surface runoff from storms when the soil has a minimum amount of cover. Increased intensity and amount during the spring could also lead to increased leaching. The variation of soils within a watershed and the placement of agricultural management practices must be linked to changes in precipitation patterns in order to assess the potential impacts of precipitation patterns. Climate change could have an impact on water quality; however, implementation of management practices during the period of climate change could reduce the impact.