Estimating Potential Climate Change Effects on the Upper Neuse Watershed Water Balance Using the SWAT Model

Ercan M. B. , Maghami I., Bowes B., Morsy M. M. , Goodall J. L.

JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN WATER RESOURCES ASSOCIATION, cilt.56, ss.53-67, 2020 (SCI İndekslerine Giren Dergi) identifier identifier

  • Cilt numarası: 56 Konu: 1
  • Basım Tarihi: 2020
  • Doi Numarası: 10.1111/1752-1688.12813
  • Sayfa Sayıları: ss.53-67


Climate change poses water resource challenges for many already water stressed watersheds throughout the world. One such watershed is the Upper Neuse Watershed in North Carolina, which serves as a water source for the large and growing Research Triangle Park region. The aim of this study was to quantify possible changes in the watershed's water balance due to climate change. To do this, we used the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model forced with different climate scenarios for baseline, mid-century, and end-century time periods using five different downscaled General Circulation Models. Before running these scenarios, the SWAT model was calibrated and validated using daily streamflow records within the watershed. The study results suggest that, even under a mitigation scenario, precipitation will increase by 7.7% from the baseline to mid-century time period and by 9.8% between the baseline and end-century time period. Over the same periods, evapotranspiration (ET) would decrease by 5.5 and 7.6%, water yield would increase by 25.1% and 33.2%, and soil water would increase by 1.4% and 1.9%. Perhaps most importantly, the model results show, under a high emission scenario, large seasonal differences with ET estimated to decrease by up to 42% and water yield to increase by up to 157% in late summer and fall. Planning for the wetter predicted future and corresponding seasonal changes will be critical for mitigating the impacts of climate change on water resources.