Predicting water levels in ephemeral wetlands under climate change scenarios

  • Alex JamesEmail author
  • Rachelle N. Binny
  • William G. Lee
  • John Payne
  • Nick Stringer
  • E. Penelope Holland


Ephemeral wetlands or kettle holes contain an often unique biodiversity of flora and fauna. In New Zealand, they can be an important breeding ground for iconic taonga species such as kakī/black stilt. Understanding the possible effects of climate change on the holes is a challenge as there is often limited information on the local hydrology, restricting the applicability of established hydrological models. We present a mathematical model that is parameterised using only recent rainfall data and water level. We assess the efficacy of our model to predict water levels under current climatic conditions and then explore the effects of a range of simple climate change scenarios. Our simple but effective modelling approach could be easily used in other situations where complex data and modelling expertise are unavailable.


Kettle hole Stochastic model Climate change 



The authors thank the reviewers for useful comments and suggestions for improving the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no real or perceived conflicts of interest or other affiliations that may be perceived as having a conflict of interest with respect to the results of the paper.

Supplementary material

12080_2019_409_MOESM1_ESM.docx (49 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 49 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of CanterburyChristchurchNew Zealand
  2. 2.Te Pūnaha MatatiniAucklandNew Zealand
  3. 3.Manaaki WhenuaLincolnNew Zealand
  4. 4.University of YorkYorkUK

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