Impacts of Climate Change on Evapotranspiration and Runoff in the Tennessee River Basin

by Ming Shiao, TVA Engineering Lab, Norris, United States,
Barbara Miller, TVA Engineering Lab, Norris, United States,
Tatiana Belyaeva, TVA Engineering Lab, Norris, United States,



Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Engineering Hydrology

Abstract: Recent climate change studies using general circulation models demonstrated the potential for a 1 to 3°C warming in North America, as well as increases in precipitation and evaporation due to elevated CO2 concentration. Water resource managers have become concerned with the relationship between changes in air and dew point temperature and watershed hydrology. To address these issues, the Tennessee Valley Authority conducted a series of sensitivity analyses to determine the impact of incremental increases in air and dew point temperature (separately and combined) on evapotranspiration and basin runoff in two representative subwatersheds in the Tennessee River Basin. The two watersheds represent mountainous forestland and heavily cultivated grass/cropland. Basin runoff is computed using a hydrologic model originated from the Sacramento watershed model. Potential evapotranspiration is estimated by the Penman-Monteith method. The models are applied under different (dry and wet) hydrologies. This article reports on the modeling effort to enhance understanding of the dynamics of ET and watershed hydrology and provide tools for future study of climate change on the operation of the TVA power and reservoir systems.

Subject Headings: Hydrology | Climate change | Watersheds | Basins | Evapotranspiration | Hydrologic models | Model analysis | Runoff | Rivers and streams | Sensitivity analysis | North America | United States | Tennessee | California | Colorado | Sacramento

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