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Climate change impacts analysis on hydrological processes in the Weyib River basin in Ethiopia

Serur, Abdulkerim Bedewi, Sarma, Arup Kumar
Theoretical and applied climatology 2018 v.134 no.3-4 pp. 1301-1314
base flow, basins, climate change, dry season, evapotranspiration, hydrologic models, runoff, seasonal variation, soil water, soil water content, streams, temperature, water shortages, watersheds, wet season, Ethiopia
The study aims to examine the variation of hydrological processes (in terms of mean annual, seasonal, and monthly) under changing climate within the Weyib River basin in Ethiopia at both basin and sub-basin level using ArcSWAT hydrologic model. The climate change impacts on temperature and precipitation characteristics within the basin have been studied using GFDL-ESM2M, CanESM2, and GFDL-ESM2G models for RCP8.5, RCP4.5, and RCP2.6 scenarios from coupled model inter-comparison project 5 (CMIP5) which have been downscaled by SDSM. The results revealed that the mean annual temperature and precipitation reveal a statistically significant (at 5% significant level) increasing trend in the nine ESM-RCP scenarios for all the future time slices. The mean annual actual evapotranspiration, baseflow, soil water content, percolation, and water availability in the stream exhibit a rise for all the ESMs-RCP scenarios in the entire basin and in all the sub-basins. However, surface runoff and potential evapotranspiration show a decreasing trend. The mean annual water availability increases between 9.18 and 27.97% (RCP8.5), 3.98 and 19.61% (RCP4.5), and 11.82 and 17.06% (RCP2.6) in the entire basin. The sub-basin level analysis reveals that the annual, seasonal, and monthly variations of hydrological processes in all the sub-basins are similar regarding direction but different in magnitude as compared to that of the entire basin analysis. In addition, it is observed that there is a larger monthly and seasonal variation in hydrological processes as compared to the variation in annual scale. The net water availability tends to decline in the dry season; this might cause water shortage in the lowland region and greater increases in an intermediate and rainy seasons; this might cause flooding to some flood prone region of the basin. Since the variation of water availability among the sub-basins in upcoming period is high, there is a scope of meeting agriculture water demand through water transfer from sub-basin having more available water in small area to the sub-basin having less available water in a larger agricultural area.