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Water 2015, 7(7), 3565-3578; doi:10.3390/w7073565

Impacts of Climate Change on Mean Annual Water Balance for Watersheds in Michigan, USA

1
College of Water Conservancy and Hydropower, Hebei University of Engineering, 178 S. Zhonghua Street, Handan 056000, Hebei, China
2
Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Purdue University, 225 S. University Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA
3
Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD 57007, USA
4
College of Water Resources and Architectural Engineering, Northwest A & F University, 23 Weihui Road, Yangling 712100, Shanxi, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Miklas Scholz
Received: 16 April 2015 / Revised: 25 June 2015 / Accepted: 29 June 2015 / Published: 7 July 2015
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [282 KB, uploaded 7 July 2015]   |  

Abstract

Evaluation of water balance at the watershed scale is a fundamental step for estimating streamflow in watersheds. Mean annual water balance of 17 watersheds across Michigan were evaluated by comparing observed streamflow with simulated streamflow estimated using Fu’s Equation, which is based on the Budyko Hypothesis. The Budyko Hypothesis describes mean annual water balance as a function of available water and energy. Impact of long-term climatic controls (e.g., precipitation, potential evapotranspiration (ETP)) on mean annual water balance was also investigated with Fu’s Equation. Results indicated that observed streamflow ranged from 237 to 529 mm per year, with an average of 363 mm per year in the study watersheds during 1967–2011. On average, 40% of long-term precipitation in the study watersheds was converted into surface runoff. The performance of Fu’s Equation in estimating mean annual streamflow resulted in Root Mean Square Error (RMSE) value of 64.1 mm/year. Mean annual streamflow was sensitive to changes in mean annual precipitation, and less sensitive to changes in mean annual ETp in the watersheds. With the increase of baseflow index (BFI), mean annual streamflow was less sensitive to climate change. Overall, different contributions of baseflow to streamflow modified the impact of climate controls on mean annual water balance in the baseflow-dominated watersheds. View Full-Text
Keywords: water balance; baseflow; climate sensitivity; Budyko Hypothesis; Michigan water balance; baseflow; climate sensitivity; Budyko Hypothesis; Michigan
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Zhang, Y.; Engel, B.; Ahiablame, L.; Liu, J. Impacts of Climate Change on Mean Annual Water Balance for Watersheds in Michigan, USA. Water 2015, 7, 3565-3578.

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