Study suggests dry Northwest

PORTLAND — A study indicates the Pacific Northwest can expect less of both rain and snow in future dry years.

That’s a change. In the past, scientists have said climate change bringing warmer weather to the region will likely mean more rain and less snow but about the same amount of precipitation overall.

The study was led by Charlie Luce, a U.S. Forest Service research hydrologist in Boise, Idaho. It was published online last month by the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

The findings are based on changes in the amount of water released from mountain basins into 43 rivers and streams in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and western Montana since 1948.

Few shows significant runoff declines until researchers isolated the driest 25 percent of the years and found severe decreases in water flow.

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