Climatic Change

, Volume 100, Issue 3–4, pp 433–461 | Cite as

Hydrologic impacts of climate change on the Nile River Basin: implications of the 2007 IPCC scenarios

  • Tazebe Beyene
  • Dennis P. Lettenmaier
  • Pavel Kabat


We assess the potential impacts of climate change on the hydrology and water resources of the Nile River basin using a macroscale hydrology model. Model inputs are bias corrected and spatially downscaled 21st Century simulations from 11 General Circulation Models (GCMs) and two global emissions scenarios (A2 and B1) archived from the 2007 IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (AR4). While all GCMs agree with respect to the direction of 21st Century temperature changes, there is considerable variability in the magnitude, direction, and seasonality of projected precipitation changes. Our simulations show that, averaged over all 11 GCMs, the Nile River is expected to experience increase in streamflow early in the study period (2010–2039), due to generally increased precipitation. Streamflow is expected to decline during mid- (2040–2069) and late (2070–2099) century as a result of both precipitation declines and increased evaporative demand. The predicted multimodel average streamflow at High Aswan Dam (HAD) as a percentage of historical (1950–1999) annual average are 111 (114), 92 (93) and 84 (87) for A2 (B1) global emissions scenarios. Implications of these streamflow changes on the water resources of the Nile River basin were analyzed by quantifying the annual hydropower production and irrigation water release at HAD. The long-term HAD release for irrigation increases early in the century to 106 (109)% of historical, and then decreases to 87 (89) and 86 (84)% of historical in Periods II and III, respectively, for the A2 (B1) global emissions scenarios. Egypt’s hydropower production from HAD will be above the mean annual average historical value of about 10,000 GWH for the early part of 21st century, and thereafter will generally follow the streamflow trend, however with large variability among GCMs. Agricultural water supplies will be negatively impacted, especially in the second half of the century.


Multimodel Ensemble Nile Basin Late 21st Century Parallel Climate Model Blue Nile Basin 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tazebe Beyene
    • 1
  • Dennis P. Lettenmaier
    • 1
  • Pavel Kabat
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  2. 2.ALTERRA Green World ResearchWageningen University and Research CentreWageningenThe Netherlands

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