, Volume 89, Issue 3-4, pp 263-280

Effect of climate change on watershed system: a regional analysis

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Abstract

Climate-induced increase in surface temperatures can impact hydrologic processes of a watershed system. This study uses a continuous simulation model to evaluate potential implications of increasing temperature on water quantity and quality at a regional scale in the Connecticut River Watershed of New England. The increase in temperature was modeled using Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) high and low warming scenarios to incorporate the range of possible temperature change. It was predicted that climate change can have a significant affects on streamflow, sediment loading, and nutrient (nitrogen and phosphorus) loading in a watershed. Climate change also influences the timing and magnitude of runoff and sediment yield. Changes in variability of flows and pollutant loading that are induced by climate change have important implications on water supplies, water quality, and aquatic ecosystems of a watershed. Potential impacts of these changes include deficit supplies during peak seasons of water demand, increased eutrophication potential, and impacts on fish migration.