SWAT Literature Database for Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

Title:Climate change impacts on the hydrological processes of a small agricultural watershed 
Authors:Mehan, S., N. Kannan, R.P. Neupane, R. McDaniel and S. Kumar 
Article ID:56 
URL (non-DOI journals): 
Broad Application Category:hydrologic only 
Primary Application Category:climate change  
Secondary Application Category:hydrologic assessment 
Watershed Description:1,606 km^2 Skunk River, located in southeast South Dakota, U.S. 
Calibration Summary: 
Validation Summary: 
General Comments: 
Abstract:Weather extremes and climate variability directly impact the hydrological cycle influencing agricultural productivity. The issues related to climate change are of prime concern for every nation as its implications are posing negative impacts on society. In this study, we used three climate change scenarios to simulate the impact on local hydrology of a small agricultural watershed. The three emission scenarios from the Special Report on Emission Scenarios, of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2007 analyzed in this study were A2 (high emission), A1B (medium emission), and B1 (low emission). A process based hydrologic model SWAT (Soil and Water Assessment Tool) was calibrated and validated for the Skunk Creek Watershed located in eastern South Dakota. The model performance coefficients revealed a strong correlation between simulated and observed stream flow at both monthly and daily time step. The Nash Sutcliffe Efficiency for monthly model performace was 0.87 for the calibration period and 0.76 for validation period. The future climate scenarios were built for the mid-21st century time period ranging from 2046 to 2065. The future climate data analysis showed an increase in temperatures between 2.2 C to 3.3 C and a decrease in precipitation from 1.8% to 4.5% expected under three different climate change scenarios. A sharp decline in stream flow (95.92%–96.32%), run-off (83.46%–87.00%), total water yield (90.67%–91.60%), soil water storage (89.99%–92.47%), and seasonal snow melt (37.64%–43.06%) are predicted to occur by the mid-21st century. In addition, an increase in evapotranspirative losses (2%–3%) is expected to occur within the watershed when compared with the baseline period. Overall, these results indicate that the watershed is highly susceptible to hydrological and agricultural drought due to limited water availability. These results are limited to the available climate projections, and future refinement in projected climatic change data, at a finer regional scale would provide greater clarity. Nevertheless, models like SWAT are excellent means to test best management practices to mitigate the projected dry conditions in small agricultural watersheds. 
Keywords:climate change; SWAT; SRES scenarios; dry conditions; mitigation