The Potential Effects of Climate Change on Sediment Transport

In the article above, the work of several researchers and the predictions from multiple climate models was discussed.  The research done focused on the effects of climate change on the flow of the Colorado River, particularly the decrease in flow.  Due to drought and rising temperatures, the flow of the Colorado River has been down almost 20% from the century’s average.  This is concerning, as estimates have it declining by 25 to 35% by 2100, with the upper estimates at over 50%.  A decrease in flow will significantly affect sediment transport within the region, as the stress needed to transport grains is dependent on the thickness of the fluid.  If flows drop significantly, it will lower the amount of basal shear stress on the river bed, and as a result, less sediment will be transported.  The loss of flow and entrained sediment could then affect the Colorado River Delta, affecting the wetlands at the mouth of the river.