Application of Distributed Parameter Watershed Model for Determining the Effects of Climate Change on Water Resources

by Alok K. Sikka, Utah State Univ, Logan, United States,
Robert W. Gunderson, Utah State Univ, Logan, United States,
Ashutosh S. Limaye, Utah State Univ, Logan, United States,
J. Paul Riley, Utah State Univ, Logan, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Management of Irrigation and Drainage Systems: Integrated Perspectives


Projected scenarios of climate change are likely to have significant effects on hydrology and water resources in the semi-arid western United States. The paper describes the application of a distributed parameter modeling approach to better reflect the effects of climate and vegetation changes on a watershed hydrologic response. The model incorporates a better representation of vegetative changes into a hydrologic model modified to simulate the climate-vegetation-hydrologic interactions. The concept of partitioning watersheds into 'homogeneous' hydrologic response units (HRUs) is used to provide distributed-parameter capabilities through the use of remote sensing and a Geographic Information System (GSIS). Sensitivity analyses are conducted by assuming changes in climate and/or plant variables over credible ranges of climate change scenarios based on the output from GCMs and the current literature. The results of the impact of climate change scenarios on runoff in the Causey watershed of Weber River basin are discussed.

Subject Headings: Water resources | Parameters (statistics) | Watersheds | Climate change | Hydrologic models | Hydrology | Vegetation | Geographic information systems | Utah | United States

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