Recent water temperature trends in the lower Klamath River, California
Elevated water temperatures have been implicated as a factor limiting the recovery of anadromous salmonids in the Klamath River basin. This article reviews evidence of a multi-decade trend of increasing temperatures in the lower main-stem Klamath River above the ocean and, based on model simulations, finds a high probability that water temperature has been increasing by approximately 0.5 degrees C/decade (95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.42-0.60 degrees C/decade) since the early 1960s. The season of high temperatures that are potentially stressful to salmonids has lengthened by about I month over the period studied, and the average length of main-stem river with cool summer temperatures has declined by about 8.2 km/ decade. Water temperature trends seem unrelated to any change in main-stem water availability but are consistent with measured basinwide air temperature increases. Main-stem warming may be related to the cyclic Pacific Decadal Oscillation, but if this trend continues it might jeopardize the recovery of anadromous salmonids in the Klamath River basin.
Bartholow JM (reprint author), US Geol Survey, Ft Collins Sci Ctr, 2150 Ctr Ave,Bldg C, Ft Collins, CO 80526 USA US Geol Survey, Ft Collins Sci Ctr, Ft Collins, CO 80526 USA