Regional Environmental Change

, Volume 13, Supplement 1, pp 131–139 | Cite as

Hydrologic impacts of future climate change on Southeast US watersheds

  • Satish Bastola
Original Article


The hydrological impact of climate change is assessed for 28 watersheds located within the Southeast United States using output from global climate models (GCMs) from the Climate Model Intercomparison Project phase 3 (CMIP3) and phase 5 (CMIP5) run. Subsequently, the impact of projected change in seasonal streamflow is derived by propagating projected scenarios, generated using changes derived from GCMs and weather generators, through a suite of conceptual hydrological models. Analysis shows that the spread in the magnitude of change in temperature and rainfall for CMIP3 is wider than that for CMIP5. The reduction in the spread among many factors may be attributed to improved physics, model number and resolution, and emission scenarios. The spread in projected change in temperature (precipitation) increases (decreases) from southernmost to northernmost latitude. Hydrological projection with CMIP3 output for the 2070s shows that streamflow decreases for most of the watersheds in spring and summer and increased in fall. In contrast, CMIP5 results show an increase in flow for all seasons except with the high-end scenarios in spring. However, the uncertainty in projections in streamflow is high with model uncertainty dominating emission scenario. The variability in prediction uncertainty among watersheds is partly explained by the variability in wetness index. The probability distribution function for projected seasonal flow for each scenario is markedly wide and therefore reflects that the uncertainty associated with using multiple GCMs from both CMIP3 and CMIP5 experiment is high which makes design and implementation of adaption measure a difficult task.


CMIP3 CMIP5 Hydrological models GLUE 



I acknowledge the editorial assistance of Kathy Fearon of the Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies, Florida State University in preparing this manuscript. This work was supported by NOAA Grant NA07OAR4310221 and USGS Grant 06HQGR0125. The paper has been greatly improved by the comments and suggestions from three anonymous reviewers and Dr V Misra. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the author and do not necessarily represent the official views of the acknowledged funding agencies.

Supplementary material

10113_2013_454_MOESM1_ESM.docx (110 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 109 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction StudiesFlorida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA

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