SWAT Literature Database for Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

Title:Simulation climate change impact on runoff and sediment yield in a small watershed in the Basque Country, northern Spain 
Authors:Zabaleta, A., M. Meaurio, E. Ruiz and I. Antigüedad 
Journal:Journal of Environmental Quality 
Article ID: 
URL (non-DOI journals): 
Broad Application Category:hydrologic & pollutant 
Primary Application Category:climate change  
Secondary Application Category:sediment loss and transport 
Watershed Description:4.8 km^2 Aixola located in the Basque region of northern Spain 
Calibration Summary: 
Validation Summary: 
General Comments:This paper is part of a SWAT special section. 
Abstract:Climate change is likely to have an impact on runoff and fluvial sediments in watersheds. These factors are among those used to characterize water bodies in relation to the European Water Framework Directive (WFD). Hence, it is important to investigate the extent to which climate change may hinder the achievement of the objectives of the WFD. We explored the potential impact of climate change on runoff and sediment yield for the Aixola watershed using the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT). The model calibration (2007-2010) and validation (2005-2006) results were rated as satisfactory. Subsequently, simulations were run for four climate change model-scenario combinations, based on two general circulation models (CGCM2 and ECHAM4) under two emissions scenarios (A2 and B2) from 2011 to 2100. All combinations predicted that runoff and sediment yield would decrease, compared to baseline (1961-1990). Further, three combinations suggested that runoff and sediments would decrease by 0.13 m3•s-1 to 0.45 m3•s-1 and 0.11 t to 0.43 t every year from 2011 to 2100. However, the CGCM2-B2 scenario resulted in an “extremely likely” increase in runoff and sediments of 0.94 m3•s-1 and 0.57 t every year. These variations in annual sediment yield are closely related to changes in precipitation. The high degree of uncertainty in the results must, however, be considered when assessing potential impacts and taking decisions about adaptation measures. Nevertheless, this first attempt to estimate future sediment yields in our region could be a useful starting point to explore future hydrological impacts in the area.