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Assessing Climate Variability Impact on Thermotolerant Coliform Bacteria in Surface Water

Priyantha Jayakody, Prem B. Parajuli, John P. Brooks
Human and ecological risk assessment 2015 v.21 no.3 pp. 691-706
Soil and Water Assessment Tool model, climate, climate change, climate models, coliform bacteria, emissions, heat tolerance, rivers, simulation models, stream flow, streams, surface water, water quality, watershed management, watersheds, Mississippi
This study investigated the impacts of climate variability on thermotolerant coliform bacteria (TCB) transport in the Upper Pearl River watershed (UPRW) in Mississippi. The Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) was applied using daily observed stream flows and TCB concentration data. The SWAT model was successfully calibrated and validated using both manual and automatic methods from February 2011 to June 2012 (NSE and R ² up to 0.79). The Long Ashton Research Station Weather Generator (LARS-WG), a stochastic weather generator, with the global climate model, CCSM3, which was developed by the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) was used for future climate variability simulations. The Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES) A1B of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was simulated for the mid (2046–2065) and late (2080–2099) 21st century. The SWAT model simulated TCB concentrations in surface water and demonstrated reasonable performances (R ² up to 0.59 and NSE up to 0.58). During mid-century climate, average monthly TCB levels increase to 175%, while late-century average monthly TCB levels increase to 297% from the watershed. Although late-century climate variability impacts were determined more critical than mid-century climate impacts, appropriate watershed management practices are required to adapt to maintain and improve water quality.