Assessment of the Impacts of Climate Change on Hydrological Characteristics of the Mbarali River Sub Catchment Using High Resolution Climate Simulations from CORDEX Regional Climate Models

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Canadian Center of Science and Education


This study assesses the impacts of climate change on water resources over Mbarali River sub-catchment using high resolution climate simulations from the Coordinated Regional Climate Downscaling Experiment Regional Climate Models (CORDEX_RCMs). Daily rainfall, minimum and maximum temperatures for historical climate (1971-2000) and for the future climate projection (2011-2100) under two Representative Concentration Pathways RCP 8.5 and RCP 4.5 were used as input into the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) hydrological model to simulate stream flows and water balance components for the Mbarali River sub-catchment. The impacts of climate change on hydrological conditions over Mbarali river catchment were assessed by comparing the mean values of stream flows and water balance components during the present (2011-2040), mid (2041-2070) and end (2071-2100) centuries with their respective mean values in the baseline (1971-2000) climate condition. The results of the study indicate that, in the future, under both RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5 emission scenarios, the four main components that determine change in catchment water balance (rainfall, ground water recharge, evaporation and surface runoff) over Mbarali river catchment are projected to increase. While the stream flows are projected to decline in the future by 13.33% under RCP 4.5 and 13.67% under RCP 8.5 emission scenarios, it is important to note that simulated surface runoff under RCP8.5 emission scenario is higher than that which is obtained under the RCP4.5 emission scenario.



RCP, Regional climate model, General circulation models, SWAT model, hydrological water balance components