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Climate 2015, 3(2), 264-282; doi:10.3390/cli3020264

Climate Change Induced Precipitation Effects on Water Resources in the Peace Region of British Columbia, Canada

Environmental Science and Engineering Program, University of Northern British Columbia, Prince George, BC V2N 4Z9, Canada
Academic Editor: Monica Ionita-Scholz
Received: 1 December 2014 / Revised: 4 March 2015 / Accepted: 4 March 2015 / Published: 26 March 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Changes in Precipitation and Impacts on Regional Water Resources)
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Abstract

Climate change would significantly affect the temporal pattern and amount of annual precipitation at the regional level, which in turn would affect the regional water resources and future water availability. The Peace Region is a critical region for northern British Columbia’s social, environmental, and economic development, due to its potential in various land use activities. This study investigated the impacts of future climate change induced precipitation on water resources under the A2 and B1 greenhouse gas emission scenarios for 2020–2040 in a study area along the main river of the Kiskatinaw River watershed in the Peace Region as a case study using the Gridded Surface Subsurface Hydrologic Analysis (GSSHA) modeling system. The simulation results showed that climate change induced precipitation changes significantly affect monthly, seasonal and annual stream flows. With respect to the mean annual stream flow of the reference period (2000–2011), the mean annual stream flow from 2020 to 2040 under the A2 and B1 scenarios is expected to increase by 15.5% and 12.1%, respectively, due to the increased precipitation (on average 5.5% in the A2 and 3.5% in the B1 scenarios) and temperature (on average 0.76 °C in the A2 and 0.57 °C in the B1 scenarios) predicted, with respect to that under the reference period. From the seasonal point of view, the mean seasonal stream flow during winter, spring, summer and fall from 2020 to 2040 under the A2 scenario is expected to increase by 10%, 16%, 11%, and 11%, respectively. On the other hand, under the B1 scenario these numbers are 6%, 15%, 6%, and 8%, respectively. Increased precipitation also resulted in increased groundwater discharge and surface runoff. The obtained results from this study will provide valuable information for the study area in the long-term period for seasonal and annual water extractions from the river and allocation to the stakeholders for future water supply, and help develop a regional water resources management plan for climate change induced precipitation changes. View Full-Text
Keywords: precipitation; climate change; water resources; Peace Region; GSSHA precipitation; climate change; water resources; Peace Region; GSSHA
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

Saha, G.C. Climate Change Induced Precipitation Effects on Water Resources in the Peace Region of British Columbia, Canada. Climate 2015, 3, 264-282.

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