Climate and Land Use Effects on Hydrologic Processes in a Primarily Rain-Fed, Agricultural Watershed

Quang A. Phung, Allen L. Thompson, Claire Baffaut, Christine Costello, E. John Sadler, Bohumil M. Svoma, Anthony Lupo, Sagar Gautam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Anticipating changes in hydrologic variables is essential for making socioeconomic water resource decisions. This study aims to assess the potential impact of land use and climate change on the hydrologic processes of a primarily rain-fed, agriculturally based watershed in Missouri. A detailed evaluation was performed using the Soil and Water Assessment Tool for the near future (2020–2039) and mid-century (2040–2059). Land use scenarios were mapped using the Conversion of Land Use and its Effects model. Ensemble results, based on 19 climate models, indicated a temperature increase of about 1.0°C in near future and 2.0°C in mid-century. Combined climate and land use change scenarios showed distinct annual and seasonal hydrologic variations. Annual precipitation was projected to increase from 6% to 7%, which resulted in 14% more spring days with soil water content equal to or exceeding field capacity in mid-century. However, summer precipitation was projected to decrease, a critical factor for crop growth. Higher temperatures led to increased potential evapotranspiration during the growing season. Combined with changes in precipitation patterns, this resulted in an increased need for irrigation by 38 mm representing a 10% increase in total irrigation water use. Analysis from multiple land use scenarios indicated converting agriculture to forest land can potentially mitigate the effects of climate change on streamflow, thus ensuring future water availability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1196-1215
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of the American Water Resources Association
Volume55
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Earth-Surface Processes

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