Assessment of future climate change impacts on hydrological behavior of Richmond River Catchment
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This study evaluated the impacts of future climate change on the hydrological response of the Richmond River Catchment in New South Wales (NSW), Australia, using the conceptual rainfall-runoff modeling approach (the Hydrologiska Byrans Vattenbalansavdelning (HBV) model). Daily observations of rainfall, temperature, and streamflow and long-term monthly mean potential evapotranspiration from the meteorological and hydrological stations within the catchment for the period of 1972–2014 were used to run, calibrate, and validate the HBV model prior to the streamflow prediction. Future climate signals of rainfall and temperature were extracted from a multi-model ensemble of seven global climate models (GCMs) of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 3 (CMIP3) with three regional climate scenarios, A2, A1B, and B1. The calibrated HBV model was then forced with the ensemble mean of the downscaled daily rainfall and temperature to simulate daily future runoff at the catchment outlet for the early part (2016–2043), middle part (2044–2071), and late part (2072–2099) of the 21st century. All scenarios during the future periods present decreasing tendencies in the annual mean streamflow ranging between 1% and 24.3% as compared with the observed period. For the maximum and minimum flows, all scenarios during the early, middle, and late parts of the century revealed significant declining tendencies in the annual mean maximum and minimum streamflows, ranging between 30% and 44.4% relative to the observed period. These findings can assist the water managers and the community of the Richmond River Catchment in managing the usage of future water resources in a more sustainable way.
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