Combined impacts of future climate and land use changes on discharge, nitrogen and phosphorus loads for a Canadian river basin.

El-Khoury, A., Seidou, O., Lapen, D.R., Que, Z., Mohammadi, M., and Sunohara, M. (2015). "Combined impacts of future climate and land use changes on discharge, nitrogen and phosphorus loads for a Canadian river basin.", Journal of Environmental Management, 151, pp. 76-86. doi : 10.1016/j.jenvman.2014.12.012  Access to full text

Abstract

Both climate and land use changes can influence water quality and quantity in different ways. Thus, for predicting future water quality and quantity trends, simulations should ideally account for both projected climate and land use changes. In this paper, land use projections and climate change scenarios were integrated with hydrological model to estimate the relative impact of climate and land use projections on a suite of water quality and quantity endpoints for a Canadian watershed. Climatic time series representing SRES change scenario A2 were generated by downscaling the outputs of the Canadian Regional Climate Model (version 4.1.1) using a combination of quantile–quantile transformation and nearest neighbor search. The SWAT (Soil and Water Assessment Tool) model was used to simulate streamflow, nitrogen and phosphorus loading under different climate and land use scenarios. Results showed that a) climate change will drive up maximum monthly streamflow, nitrate loads, and organic phosphorus loads, while decreasing organic nitrogen and nitrite loads; and b) land use changes were found to drive the same water quality/quantity variables in the same direction as climate change, except for organic nitrogen loads, for which the effects of the two stressors had a reverse impact on loading.

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