The Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) was used to model the potential impact of climate change under the Representative Concentration Pathway 4.5 (RCP 4.5) scenario on the Indian Creek-Cahokia Creek Watershed in the southwestern part of Illinois. This study will help residents living in the area understand how flooding in the Watershed may be impacted by climate change. The SWAT hydrological model was calibrated and validated with the observed streamflow data derived from the U.S. Geological Survey Cahokia Creek gauging station, which resulted in a Nash-Sutcliffe coefficient of 0.80 and 0.83 respectively, and R2 value of 0.90 and 0.84 respectively, for monthly streamflow. The calibrated and validated model was used to evaluate the response of the hydrology (precipitation, streamflow, and water yield) of the Indian Creek-Cahokia Creek Watershed under a downscaled climate projection of 10 Global Circulation Models (GCM) for the RCP 4.5 climate change scenario for a 30-year period of 2045–2074. The comparison of the impact of the future climate scenario to the baseline period 1971–2000 suggests that the hydrological system is responsive to changes in the atmosphere, with an annual average percentage increase of 12% for precipitation. The monthly mean increases in streamflow, water yield, and precipitation follow the same trend, with higher flow in spring and winter and lower flow in the summer months of July and August. The percentage increase in precipitation is within the projected range of 10–20% increase projected for this region by the end of the century by the National Climate Assessment 2014. This modeling result implies a risk of more flooding events as a result of increased stream flow and water yield. Further modeling studies are recommended to incorporate projected land-use/landcover changes and elevated CO2 concentration. Findings from this study are a preliminary step for informing decisions on the best land management practices to be identified and implemented for the long-term sustainability of the watershed.
|Commitee:||Black, Alan, Benjankar, Rohan|
|School:||Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville|
|School Location:||United States -- Illinois|
|Source:||MAI 81/6(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Climate Change, Environmental science|
|Keywords:||Soil and water assessment tool (SWAT)|
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