In Washington, Oregon, and particularly California, far less snow and rain has fallen this winter than usual and it has many people worried about water supplies further into spring and summer, when river levels are forecast to be well below average throughout Northern California, reports Alyson Kenward at Climate Central. Rivers should be running closer to normal in Washington and Oregon though, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service, however. The Pacific Northwest largely powers itself with dams on several major rivers, selling summer excess power to nearby California. But in the coming decades, warmer temperatures could hamstring hydropower production there, forcing California to look elsewhere for a summer electricity boost, concludes a 2010 study from the university of Washington’s Climate Impacts Group. Why? Because as average temperatures rise in the northwest, snowmelt occurs earlier each year, as does the time when rivers run at their highest. Further into summer, water levels will probably be much lower than they have been historically. Besides less water and power, warming temperatures and growing populations will generate more local demand for air conditioning, the study found.
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Rising temps in northwest may impact hydro, California. In Washington, Oregon, and particularly California, far less snow and rain has fallen this winter than usual and it has many people worried about water supplies further into spring and summer, reports Alyson Kenward at Climate Central. http://www.climatecentral.org/blogs/climate-pressures-on-northwest-hydro-could-hit-california-worst/