Water Resources Management

, Volume 28, Issue 10, pp 2731–2749 | Cite as

Assessing the Impacts of Climate Change on Hydrology of the Upper Reach of the Spree River: Germany

  • Mustafa Al-Mukhtar
  • Volkmar Dunger
  • Broder Merkel


The aim of this study was to assess the potential impacts of future climate change on the hydrological response in the upper reach of the Spree River catchment using the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT). The model was calibrated for ten years (1997–2006) and validated with the data from four years (2007–2010) using average monthly stream flow. The impact of future climate change on precipitation, temperature, evapotranspiration and stream flow was then investigated from two different downscaled climate models (CLM and WETTREG2010) under SRES A1B scenarios for two future periods (2021–2030 and 2041–2050). Besides that, sensitivity analysis was carried out with and without observations, to test robustness of the sensitivity algorithm used in the model. Results of the determination coefficient R2 and Nasch-Sutcliff efficiency ENC were 0.81 and 0.80, respectively, during the calibration; 0.71 and 0.70, respectively, during the validation. Although some parameters were changed their sensitiveness ranking when the model run with observations, the SWAT model was, however, able to predict the top influential parameters without observations. According to 12 realizations from the two downscaled climate models, annual stream flow from 2021–2030 (2041–2050) is predicted to decrease by 39 % (43 %). This corresponds to an increase in annual evapotranspiration from 2021–2030 (2041–2050) of 36 % (38 %). The upper reach of the Spree River catchment will likely experience a significant decrease in stream flow due to the increasing in the evapotranspiration rates. This study could be of use for providing insight into the availability of future stream flow, and to provide a planning tool for this area.


SWAT SUFI-2 Climate change Spree river 



The authors would like to thank the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) and Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research of Iraq for the financial support during the period of this study. Special thanks to Prof. Dr. Jörg Matschullat for his suggestions and for Dr. Stephanie Hansel from the Interdisciplinary Environmental Center for her support to provide the future climate data.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mustafa Al-Mukhtar
    • 1
    • 2
  • Volkmar Dunger
    • 1
  • Broder Merkel
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of HydrogeologyTechnische Universität Bergakademie FreibergFreibergGermany
  2. 2.Building and Construction DepartmentUniversity of TechnologyBaghdadIraq

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