Climatic Change

, Volume 89, Issue 3–4, pp 263–280 | Cite as

Effect of climate change on watershed system: a regional analysis

  • Eric Marshall
  • Timothy RandhirEmail author


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.


Sediment Yield Warming Scenario Study Watershed Hydrologic Response Unit Soil Water Assessment Tool 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Arnold JG, Allen PM (1999) Automated methods for estimating baseflow and groundwater recharge from streamflow records. J Am Water Resour Assoc 35(2):411–424CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Arnold JG, Allen PM, Bernhardt G (1993) A comprehensive surface-groundwater flow model. J Hydrol 142:47–69CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Band L, Mackay D, Creed I, Semkin R, Jeffries D (1996) Ecosystem processes at the watershed scale: sensitivity to potential climate change. Limnol Oceanogr 41(5):928–938CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bingner RL (1996) Runoff simulated from Goodwin Creek watershed using SWAT, 1996. Trans ASAE 39(1):85–90Google Scholar
  5. Boswell VG (1926) The influence of temperature upon the growth and yield of garden peas. Proc Amer Soc Hort Sci 23:162–168Google Scholar
  6. Bouraoui F, Grizzetti B, Granlund K, Rekolainen S, Bidoglio G (2004) Impact of climate change on the water cycle and nutrient losses in a finnish catchment. Climatic Change 66(1-2):109–126CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Carpenter S, Fisher S, Grimm N, Kitchell JF (1992) Global change and freshwater ecosystems. Ann Rev Ecolog Syst 23:119–137CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chang H, Evans B, Easterling D (2001) Effects of climate change on stream flow and nutrient loading. J Am Water Resour Assoc 37(4):973–986CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chapra S (1997) Surface water-quality modeling. McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., Boston, MAGoogle Scholar
  10. CRWC (2007) Restoring the river’s migratory fisheries. Connecticut River Watershed Council, Greenfield, MA. Accessed 8/24/2007
  11. Evans B, Lehning D, Corradini K, Petersen G, Nizeyimana E, Hamlett J, Robillard P, Day R (2003) A comprehensive GIS-based modeling approach for predicting nutrient loads in watersheds. J Spatial Hydrol 2(2):1–18Google Scholar
  12. Groisman PY, Easterling DR (1994) Variability and trends of total precipitation and snowfall over the United States and Canada. J Climate 7:184–205CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hairsine PB, Rose CW (1991) Rainfall detachment and deposition: sediment transport in the absence of flow-driven processes. Soil Sci Soc Am J 55(2):320–324CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hargreaves GL, Hargreaves GH, Riley JP (1985) Agricultural benefits for Senegal River Basin. J Irrig Drain Eng 111(2):113–124CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (2000) IPCC Special report-emission scenarios. IPCC Working group III, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom. ISBN: 92-9169-113-5Google Scholar
  16. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (2001) Climate change 2001: the scientific basis contribution of working group i to the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  17. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (2001a) Climate Change 2001: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability Contribution of Working Group II to the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  18. Keim B, Rock B (2002) New England’s changing weather and climate. Chapter 2. In: NERA – New England Regional Assessement, The New England Regional Assessment of The Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change, Complex Systems Research Center, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NHGoogle Scholar
  19. Lettenmaier DP, Wood EF, Wallis JR (1994) Hydro-climatological trends in the continental United States. J Climate 7:586–607CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Lins H, Slack J (1999) Streamflow trends in the United States. Geophys Res Lett 26(2):227–230CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. MADEP (1999) Connecticut River Basin 1998 Water Quality Assessment. Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, Boston, MAGoogle Scholar
  22. Manguerra HB, Engel BA (1998) Hydrologic parameterizatin of watersheds for runoff prediction using SWAT. J Am Water Resour Assoc 34(5):1149–1162CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Mcdowell RW, Sharpley AN (2002) The effect of antecedent moisture conditions on sediment and phosphorus loss during overland flow: Mahantango Creek Catchment, Pennsylvania, USA. Hydrol Process 16:3037–3050CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. McElroy AD, Chiu SY, Nebgen JW, Aleti A, Bennett FW (1976) Loading functions for assessment of water pollution from nonpoint sources. Environmental Protection Technical Service, EPA 600/2-76-151, USEPA, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  25. Moore ID, Burch GJ (1986) Sediment transport capacity of sheet and rill flow: application of unit stream power theory. Water Resour Res 22(8):1350–1360CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Mullaney JR (2004) Summary of water quality trends in the Connecticut River, 1968–1998. American Fisheries Society Monograph 9:273–286Google Scholar
  27. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (2004) National climatic data center. [Online] Available from
  28. Neitsch SL, Arnold JG, Kiniry JR, Williams JR (2001) SWAT: Soil Water Assessment Tool. Texas A&M University, Texas Agricultural Experimental Station, Blackland Research CenterGoogle Scholar
  29. Nozawa T, Emori S, Numaguti A, Tsushima Y, Takemura T, Nakajima T, Abe-Ouchi A, Kimoto M (2001) Projections of future climate change in the 21st century simulated by the CCSR/NIES CGCM under the IPCC SRES scenarios. Present and Future of Modeling Global Environmental Change: Toward Integrated Modeling. In: Matsuno T, Kida H (eds) Terra Scientific, 15–28Google Scholar
  30. Santhi S, Arnold JG, Williams JR, Dugas WA, Srinivasan R, Hauck LM (2001) Validation of the SWAT Model on a Large River Basin with Point and Nonpoint Sources. J Am Water Resour Assoc 37(5):1169–1187CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Smith JB, Tirpak DA (eds) (1989) The potential effects of global climate change on the United States. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Policy, Planning, and EvaluationGoogle Scholar
  32. Spruill CA, Workman SR, Taraba JL (2000) Simulation of daily and monthly stream discharge from small watersheds using the SWAT model. Trans ASAE 43(6):1431–1439Google Scholar
  33. Stone M, Hotchkiss R, Hubbard C, Fontaine T, Mearns L, Arnold J (2001) Impacts of climate change on Missouri River Basin water yield. J Am Water Resour Assoc 37(5):1119–1128CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. USDA-NRCS (1994) State Soil Geographic (STATSGO) Database. Miscellaneous Publication No. 1492. [Online] Available:
  35. USDA-NRCS (2003) National Soil Survey Handbook, title 430-VI. [Online] Available:
  36. USDA-SCS (1972) National Engineering Handbook Section 4 Hydrology. [Online] Available:
  37. USEPA (1999) Protocols for Developing Nutrient TMDLs. Office of Water EPA 841-B-99–007, USEPA, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  38. USEPA (2001) Better Assessment Science Integrating Point and Nonpoint Sources. Office of Science and Technology. EPA 823-B-01–001, USEPA, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  39. USEPA (2002) A GIS-Based Hydrologic Modeling Tool: Documentation and User's Manual. USDA – ARS Southwest Watershed Research Center, Tucson, Arizona. EPA/600/R-02/046 ARS/137460, USEPA, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  40. USEPA (2004) Global Warming Site. [Online] Available:
  41. USFWS (1995) Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge Final Action Plan and Environmental Impact Statement. Hadley, MAGoogle Scholar
  42. Van Liew M, Garbrecht J (2003) Hydrologic simulation of the Little Washita River Experimental Watershed using SWAT. J Am Water Resour Assoc 39(2):413–426CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Westphal KS, Vogel RM, Kirshen P, Chapra SC (2003) Decision Support System for Adaptive Water Supply Management. Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management. May/June. DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)0733–9496 (2003)129:3(165)Google Scholar
  44. Williams JR (1975) Sediment routing for agricultural watersheds. Water Resour Bull 11(5):965–974Google Scholar
  45. Williams JR, Hann RW (1978) Optimal operation of large agricultural watersheds with water quality constraints. Texas Water Resources Institute, Texas A&M Univ., Tech. Rept. No. 96Google Scholar
  46. WRC (2007) Report of the findings, justification and decision of the water resources commission. Water resources Commission, The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Boston, MAGoogle Scholar
  47. Yukimoto S, Endoh M, Kitamura Y, Kitoh A, Motoi T, Noda A (2000) ENSO-like interdecadal variability in the Pacific Ocean as simulated in a coupled GCM. J Geophys Res 105:13945–13963CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Natural Resources ConservationUniversity of MassachusettsAmherstUSA

Personalised recommendations