Basin Runoff Responses to Climate Change Using a Rainfall-Runoff Hydrological Model in Southeast Australia

Article


Muhury, Newton, Ayele, Gebiaw T., Balcha, Sisay Kebede, Jemberie, Mengistu A. and Teferi, Ermias. 2023. "Basin Runoff Responses to Climate Change Using a Rainfall-Runoff Hydrological Model in Southeast Australia." Atmosphere. 14 (2). https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos14020306
Article Title

Basin Runoff Responses to Climate Change Using a Rainfall-Runoff Hydrological Model in Southeast Australia

ERA Journal ID210170
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsMuhury, Newton, Ayele, Gebiaw T., Balcha, Sisay Kebede, Jemberie, Mengistu A. and Teferi, Ermias
Journal TitleAtmosphere
Journal Citation14 (2)
Article Number306
Number of Pages23
Year2023
PublisherMDPI AG
Place of PublicationSwitzerland
ISSN2073-4433
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos14020306
Web Address (URL)https://www.mdpi.com/2073-4433/14/2/306
AbstractThe effects of climate change have been observed in the Murrumbidgee River basin, which is one of the main river basins in the southeast region of Australia. The study area is the largest and most important agricultural production area within the Murray Darling Basin (MDB). It produces more than AUD 1.9 billion of agricultural products annually and accounts for about 46% of Australia’s total agricultural production. Since Australia’s economy largely depends on its natural resources, climate change adversely impacts the economy in various ways. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s fifth assessment report (IPCC, AR5), the adaptive capacity and adaptation processes have increased in Australia. The country has implemented policies and management changes in both rural and urban water systems to adapt to future drought, unexpected floods, and other climatic changes. In this study, future catchment runoff has been estimated using the hydrological model, Simplified Hydrolog (SIMHYD), which is integrated with data from three different General Circulation Models (GCMs) and future emission scenarios. Two different representative concentration pathway (RCP) emission scenarios, RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5, have been used to obtain downscaled future precipitation and evapotranspiration data for the period of 2016 to 2100. Modeling results from the two emission scenarios showed an anticipated warmer and drier climate for the Murrumbidgee River catchment. Runoff in the Murrumbidgee catchment is affected by various dams and weirs, which yields positive results in runoff even when the monthly rainfall trend decreases. The overall runoff simulation result indicated that the impact of climate change is short and intense. The result of the Simplified Hydrolog (SIMHYD) modeling tool used in this study under the RCP 4.5 scenario for the period 2016 to 2045 indicates a significant future impact from climate change on the volumes of runoff in the Murrumbidgee River catchment. For the same period, the climate change prediction showed a decrease in total annual rainfall within the range of 2% to 62%. This reduction in rainfall is projected to decrease river runoff in the upper catchments (e.g., Tharwa, and Yass) by 17% to 58% over the projected periods. However, the runoff trends in the lower sub-catchments (e.g., Borambola) have increased by 137% to 87% under RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5, respectively. This increasing potential runoff trend in the lower Murrumbidgee catchments gives an indication to build irrigation dams for dry season irrigation management. © 2023 by the authors.
Keywordsclimate change; hydrological model; Murray-Darling Basin; CMIP5; SIMHYD
ANZSRC Field of Research 20204101. Climate change impacts and adaptation
Byline AffiliationsUniversity of Southern Queensland
Institute for Life Sciences and the Environment
Griffith University
Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia
Addis Ababa Science and Technology University, Ethiopia
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