River chemistry as a monitor of Yosemite Park mountain hydroclimates

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Abstract

High-frequency, high-altitude measurements of water chemistry provide insights into processes relating to the hydrology, climate, and geochemistry of mountain catchments. When such observations are combined with stream stage, temperature, snow, weather, and other surface hydroclimate measurements, they are particularly useful in allowing connections between climate, river discharge, river chemistry, and ecosystems to be discerned.

Climate is the major source of variability in U.S. and global water resources. For example, large-scale variations in the global atmosphere and the Pacific Ocean are responsible for much of the variability in river discharge in Hawaii, Alaska, the U.S. Pacific Northwest, and the U.S. Southwest [Cayan and Peterson, 1989], and thus are closely linked to water and energy resources of the western United States [Cayan et al., 2003].

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