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Special Issue "Impacts of Climate Change on Hydrology, Water Quality and Ecology"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2018)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Eun-Sung Chung

Department of Civil Engineering, Seoul National University of Science and Technology, Seoul, South Korea
Website | E-Mail
Interests: climate change impacts and adaptation hydrological modelling; integrated water resources management; multi-criteria decision making; sustainability; urban drainage modelling; water resources index; water resources system engineering
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Jiping Jiang

School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Southern University of Science and Technology, Shenzhen, China
E-Mail
Interests: water quality modelling; environmental system analysis; environmental informatics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In most countries, global warming or climate change has become an inevitable reality because we have suffered from tremendous serious disasters (e.g., flood, drought, groundwater depletion, water quality deterioration, ecological disturbance, etc.) resulted from inoccasionally-extreme meteorological events. Despite global efforts on the mitigation and adaptation of climate change impacts, all social, economic, environmental and ecological damages have been increasing, even in recent years. Before the implementation of any adaptive measures, it is definitely required to analyze the quantitative impacts of climate change on hydrology, water quality and ecology in both global and regional scales, as well as to precisely forecast the future climate conditions. Thus, the careful scrutiny on climate change impact can result in the selection of effective mitigation and adaptation measures.

This Special Issue will show the state-of-the-art techniques and various global applications for the impacts of climate change on flood, drought, groundwater vulnerability, water quality and ecology in a global and regional scales based on historical climate data and various climate change scenarios. Although, there have been plenty of articles on this theme for the past several decades, it should be continuously studied due to its importance. Furthermore, comprehensive review on this issue can be very helpful to all interested researchers in the world.

Now, we invite any researchers to contribute your recent research manuscripts, as well as review articles.

Prof. Dr. Eun-Sung Chung
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • climate change
  • climate change scenarios
  • drought
  • ecology
  • flood
  • sustainability
  • groundwater vulnerability
  • water quality

Published Papers (12 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Characterizing Drought Effects on Vegetation Productivity in the Four Corners Region of the US Southwest
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1643; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051643
Received: 9 April 2018 / Revised: 16 May 2018 / Accepted: 17 May 2018 / Published: 19 May 2018
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Abstract
The droughts striking the Colorado Plateau, where the Hopi Tribe and Navajo Nation Native American reservation lands are located, and their impacts have appeared slowly and relatively unnoticed in conventional national drought monitoring efforts like the National Drought Monitor. To understand the effect
[...] Read more.
The droughts striking the Colorado Plateau, where the Hopi Tribe and Navajo Nation Native American reservation lands are located, and their impacts have appeared slowly and relatively unnoticed in conventional national drought monitoring efforts like the National Drought Monitor. To understand the effect of drought-based drivers on vegetation productivity in the Hopi Tribe and Navajo Nation reservation lands, an assessment approach was developed integrating climate, land cover types, and topographical data with annual geospatially explicit normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI)-related productivity from 1989 to 2014 derived from 15-day composite multi-sensor NDVI time series data. We studied vegetation–environment relationships by conducting multiple linear regression analysis to explain the driver of vegetation productivity changes. Our results suggest that the interannual change of vegetation productivity showed high variability in middle elevations where needleleaf forest is the dominant vegetation cover type. Our analysis also shows that the spatial variation in interannual variability of vegetation productivity was more driven by climate drivers than by topography ones. Specifically, the interannual variability in spring precipitation and fall temperature seems to be the most significant factor that correlated with the interannual variability in vegetation productivity during the last two and a half decades. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impacts of Climate Change on Hydrology, Water Quality and Ecology)
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Open AccessArticle Trend Analyses of Extreme Precipitation Events in the Yarlung Zangbo River Basin, China Using a High-Resolution Precipitation Product
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1396; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051396
Received: 29 March 2018 / Revised: 23 April 2018 / Accepted: 27 April 2018 / Published: 2 May 2018
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Abstract
The Yarlung Zangbo River Basin (YZRB) is an important transboundary river basin in Tibet, China with south Asian countries. Changes in precipitation are important driving factors of river flow changes. Extreme Precipitation Events (EPE), in particular, have serious impacts on human life and
[...] Read more.
The Yarlung Zangbo River Basin (YZRB) is an important transboundary river basin in Tibet, China with south Asian countries. Changes in precipitation are important driving factors of river flow changes. Extreme Precipitation Events (EPE), in particular, have serious impacts on human life and sustainable development. The objective of this study is to explore the temporal changes and the spatial distribution of EPE over the YZRB in recent decades using a precipitation product with a 5 km spatial resolution and the Mann–Kendall nonparametric statistical test method. A more thorough understanding of the spatial heterogeneity in precipitation was expected from using this high resolution dataset. At both basin and pixel scale, both annual precipitation amounts and number of rain days had significant upward trends, indicating that the increase in the number of rain days is one possible cause of the annual precipitation amounts increases. The annual precipitation and number of rain days increased significantly in 50.8% and 75.8% of the basin area, respectively. The areas showing upward trends for the two indexes mostly overlapped, supporting the hypothesis that the increasing number of rain days is one possible cause of the increases in annual precipitation in these areas. General precipitation intensity and EPE intensity increased in the Lhasa regions and in the southern part of the lower-reach region. However, the intensity of general precipitation and EPE decreased in the Nyangqu River Basin. A total of 43.0% of the area in the YZRB exhibits significant upward trends in EPE frequency. The contributions of EPE to total rainfall increase significantly in the Lhasa and Shannan regions. Overall, it was shown that the risk of disasters from EPE in the YZRB increases in the eastern middle-reach region and southern lower-reach region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impacts of Climate Change on Hydrology, Water Quality and Ecology)
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Open AccessArticle Effects of Non-Stationarity on Flood Frequency Analysis: Case Study of the Cheongmicheon Watershed in South Korea
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1329; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051329
Received: 12 March 2018 / Revised: 16 April 2018 / Accepted: 18 April 2018 / Published: 25 April 2018
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Abstract
Due to global climate change, it is possible to experience the new trend of flood in the near future. Therefore, it is necessary to consider the impact of climate change on flood when establishing sustainable water resources management policy. In order to predict
[...] Read more.
Due to global climate change, it is possible to experience the new trend of flood in the near future. Therefore, it is necessary to consider the impact of climate change on flood when establishing sustainable water resources management policy. In order to predict the future flood events, the frequency analysis is commonly applied. Traditional methods for flood frequency analysis are based on the assumption of stationarity, which is questionable under the climate change, although many techniques that are based on stationarity have been developed. Therefore, this study aims to investigate and compare all of the corresponding effects of three different data sets (observed, RCP 4.5, and 8.5), two different frequency models (stationary and non-stationary), and two different frequency analysis procedures (rainfall frequency first approach and direct discharge approach). As a result, the design flood from the observed data by the stationary frequency model and rainfall frequency first approach can be concluded the most reasonable. Thus, the design flood from the RCP 8.5 by the non-stationary frequency model and rainfall frequency first approach should be carefully used for the establishment of flood prevention measure while considering climate change and uncertainty. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impacts of Climate Change on Hydrology, Water Quality and Ecology)
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Open AccessArticle Performance of a RBSN under the RCP Scenarios: A Case Study in South Korea
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 1242; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10041242
Received: 28 March 2018 / Revised: 12 April 2018 / Accepted: 16 April 2018 / Published: 18 April 2018
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Abstract
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report, the amount of precipitation in South Korea would increase regardless of the reduction of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions. However, at the same time, it is expected that the temporal and spatial
[...] Read more.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report, the amount of precipitation in South Korea would increase regardless of the reduction of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions. However, at the same time, it is expected that the temporal and spatial rainfall variation would also increase. Due to the impact from typhoons, 90% of the annual precipitation in Korea occurs in July, August, and September. Moreover, the Representative Concentration Pathways (RCP) scenario projected that the average precipitation in this period is expected to increase markedly, especially over the next 100 years. These predictions imply an increased variability of available water resources. In this study, we assessed a RBSN (rain barrel sharing network) as an efficient way to respond to the future climate change projections under the RCP scenarios when compared to the historical data. We proposed an evaluation procedure for the reliability, resilience, and vulnerability of RBSN based on a storage-reliability-yield (SRY) relationship. The result shows that the reliability and resiliency of a RBSN will improve but be more vulnerable compared to the results from the historical rainfall data. However, even in the climate change condition, the results showed that a RBSN still contributes to reduce vulnerability. The results of this study imply that a RBSN is an effective and alternative measure that can deal with the impacts of climate change in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impacts of Climate Change on Hydrology, Water Quality and Ecology)
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Open AccessArticle Trend Analysis of Droughts during Crop Growing Seasons of Nigeria
Sustainability 2018, 10(3), 871; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10030871
Received: 6 February 2018 / Revised: 15 March 2018 / Accepted: 17 March 2018 / Published: 19 March 2018
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Abstract
This study assesses the impacts of recent climate changes on drought-affected areas and the occurrence of droughts during different cropping seasons of Nigeria using the standardized precipitation evapotranspiration index (SPEI). The crop growing seasons are considered because the droughts for those periods are
[...] Read more.
This study assesses the impacts of recent climate changes on drought-affected areas and the occurrence of droughts during different cropping seasons of Nigeria using the standardized precipitation evapotranspiration index (SPEI). The crop growing seasons are considered because the droughts for those periods are more destructive to national agricultural production. The Mann–Kendall test and binary logistic regression were used to quantify the trends in drought-affected areas and the occurrence of crop droughts with different areal extents, respectively. Gauge-based gridded rainfall and temperature data for the period 1961–2010 with spatial resolutions of 0.5° were used. Results showed an increase in the areal extent of droughts during some of the cropping seasons. The occurrences of droughts, particularly moderate droughts with smaller areal extents, were found to increase for all of the seasons. The SPEI values calculated decreased mostly in the regions where rainfall was decreasing. That is, the recent changes in climate were responsible for the increase in the occurrences of droughts with smaller areal extents. These trends in climate indicate that the occurrence of larger areal extent droughts may happen more frequently in Nigeria in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impacts of Climate Change on Hydrology, Water Quality and Ecology)
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Open AccessArticle Parametric Assessment of Pre-Monsoon Agricultural Water Scarcity in Bangladesh
Sustainability 2018, 10(3), 819; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10030819
Received: 19 January 2018 / Revised: 7 March 2018 / Accepted: 12 March 2018 / Published: 15 March 2018
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Abstract
This study assesses the geographical distribution of agricultural water scarcity in Bangladesh in order to streamline the adaptation measures. The agricultural water scarcity was assumed to be a system with five subsystems, namely, groundwater depth, surface water availability, rainfall availability, groundwater salinity for
[...] Read more.
This study assesses the geographical distribution of agricultural water scarcity in Bangladesh in order to streamline the adaptation measures. The agricultural water scarcity was assumed to be a system with five subsystems, namely, groundwater depth, surface water availability, rainfall availability, groundwater salinity for irrigation, and surface water salinity for irrigation. The catastrophe-theory-based multi-criteria decision making approach was used for the estimation of agricultural water scarcity index from five subsystem indices. The obtained results showed that agriculture in about 6.3% of the area of the country is experiencing very high-risk water scarcity, 19.1% with high water scarcity, 37.2% with moderate water risk, and the rest is low or no risk of water scarcity for agriculture. Results showed that the western part of Bangladesh was more vulnerable to agricultural water scarcity. The analysis of the results showed that higher agriculture water scarcity in the northwest region resulted from water unavailability, and in the southwest region it was closely related to poor water quality. The severe areas of water scarcity are very similar to those that are usually regarded as water-scarce. The approach presented in this study can be used for rapid but fair assessment of water scarcity with readily available data, which can be further improved by incorporating other factors related to water scarcity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impacts of Climate Change on Hydrology, Water Quality and Ecology)
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Open AccessArticle Comparison of Flood Vulnerability Assessments to Climate Change by Construction Frameworks for a Composite Indicator
Sustainability 2018, 10(3), 768; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10030768
Received: 1 February 2018 / Revised: 3 March 2018 / Accepted: 4 March 2018 / Published: 11 March 2018
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Abstract
As extreme weather conditions due to climate change can cause deadly flood damages all around the world, a role of the flood vulnerability assessment has become recognized as one of the preemptive measures in nonstructural flood mitigation strategies. Although the flood vulnerability is
[...] Read more.
As extreme weather conditions due to climate change can cause deadly flood damages all around the world, a role of the flood vulnerability assessment has become recognized as one of the preemptive measures in nonstructural flood mitigation strategies. Although the flood vulnerability is most commonly assessed by a composite indicator compiled from multidimensional phenomena and multiple conflicting criteria associated with floods, directly or indirectly, it has been often overlooked that the construction frameworks and processes can have a significant influence on the flood vulnerability indicator outcomes. This study has, therefore, compared the flood vulnerability ranking orders for the 54 administrative districts in the Nakdong River Watershed of the Korean Peninsula, ranked from composite indicators by different frameworks and multi-attribute utility functions for combining the three assessment components, such as exposure, sensitivity, and coping, presented in the IPCC Third Assessment Report. The results show that the different aggregation components and utility functions under the same proxy variable system can lead to larger volatility of flood vulnerability rankings than expected. It is concluded that the vulnerability indicator needs to be derived from all three assessment components by a multiplicative utility function for a desirable flood vulnerability assessment to climate change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impacts of Climate Change on Hydrology, Water Quality and Ecology)
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Open AccessArticle The Responses of Plant Leaf CO2/H2O Exchange and Water Use Efficiency to Drought: A Meta-Analysis
Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 551; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10020551
Received: 27 December 2017 / Revised: 9 February 2018 / Accepted: 19 February 2018 / Published: 21 February 2018
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Abstract
Persistent drought severely inhibits plant growth and productivity, which negatively affects terrestrial primary productivity worldwide. Therefore, it is important to investigate the impacts of drought on plant leaf CO2/H2O exchange and water use efficiency. This study assessed the responses
[...] Read more.
Persistent drought severely inhibits plant growth and productivity, which negatively affects terrestrial primary productivity worldwide. Therefore, it is important to investigate the impacts of drought on plant leaf CO2/H2O exchange and water use efficiency. This study assessed the responses of net photosynthesis (Pn), stomatal conductance (Gs), transpiration (Tr), and instantaneous water use efficiency (WUE) to drought based on a worldwide meta-analysis of 112 published studies. The results demonstrated that drought decreased Pn, Tr, and Gs significantly and differently among different moderators. C4 plants had smaller Pn reduction than C3 plants, which gives C4 plants an advantage in Pn. But their WUE decreased under drought conditions, indicating a great flexibility in C4 WUE. Annual herbs sacrificed WUE (−6.2%) to maintain efficient Pn. Perennial herbs took a different strategy in response to drought with an increased WUE (25.1%). Deciduous tree species displayed a greater increase in WUE than conifers and evergreen species. Additionally, Gs had a significant correlation with Pn and Tr, but an insignificant correlation with WUE, which could be because WUE is affected by other factors (e.g., air flow, CO2 concentration, and relative humidity). These findings have significant implications for understanding the worldwide effects of drought on plant leaf CO2/H2O exchange and water use efficiency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impacts of Climate Change on Hydrology, Water Quality and Ecology)
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Open AccessArticle Analysis of Blue and Green Water Consumption at the Irrigation District Scale
Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 305; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10020305
Received: 5 December 2017 / Revised: 9 January 2018 / Accepted: 23 January 2018 / Published: 24 January 2018
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Abstract
The concepts of virtual water and water footprint bring a new perspective for water management. Previous studies mainly focus on one type of water and the relationship between water footprint and water availability. In this study, three indicators were proposed to show water
[...] Read more.
The concepts of virtual water and water footprint bring a new perspective for water management. Previous studies mainly focus on one type of water and the relationship between water footprint and water availability. In this study, three indicators were proposed to show water consumption and the influences of virtual water flows at the Hetao irrigation district, China, during 2001–2010, considering both blue and green water. Results indicate that the ratio of blue water footprint and blue water availability was 0.642 in 2010 and the value for green water was 0.148, coefficients on contribution of regional production on consumption in other areas were about 0.9, and coefficients on influences of trades from other regions to the district on regional water consumption were 0.528 (blue water) and 0.433 (green water), respectively. Government should promote water pricing policies that can encourage the adoption of irrigation technologies and water-saving practices. Besides, the adjustment of the crop sowing date or the cultivation of new varieties may be helpful in using more rainfall. Lastly, a compensation mechanism for virtual water export should be built in the future, and virtual water importing can be advocated. Before actions are taken, the possible influences and related constraints should be considered. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impacts of Climate Change on Hydrology, Water Quality and Ecology)
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Open AccessArticle Assessment of Potential Climate Change Effects on the Rice Yield and Water Footprint in the Nanliujiang Catchment, China
Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 242; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10020242
Received: 24 November 2017 / Revised: 6 January 2018 / Accepted: 8 January 2018 / Published: 23 January 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (8958 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Nanliujiang catchment is one of major rice production bases of South China. Irrigation districts play an important role in rice production which requires a large quantity of water. There are potential risks on future climate change in response to rice production, agricultural
[...] Read more.
The Nanliujiang catchment is one of major rice production bases of South China. Irrigation districts play an important role in rice production which requires a large quantity of water. There are potential risks on future climate change in response to rice production, agricultural irrigation water use and pollution control locally. The SWAT model was used to quantify the yield and water footprint (WF) of rice in this catchment. A combined method of automatic and manual sub-basin delineation was used for the model setup in this work to reflect the differences between irrigation districts in yield and water use of rice. We validated our simulations against observed leaf area index, biomass and yield of rice, evapotranspiration and runoff. The outputs of three GCMs (GFDL-ESM2M, IPSL-CM5A-LR and HadGEM2-ES) under three RCPs (RCP2.6, 4.5, 8.5) were fed to the SWAT model. The results showed that: (a) the SWAT model is an ideal tool to simulate rice development as well as hydrology; (b) there would be increases in rice yield ranged from +1.4 to +10.6% under climate projections of GFDL-ESM2M and IPSL-CM5A-LR but slight decreases ranged from −3.5 to −0.8% under that of HadGEM2-ES; (c) the yield and WFs of rice displayed clear differences in the catchment, with a characteristic that high in the south and low in the north, mainly due to the differences in climatic conditions, soil quality and fertilization amount; (d) there would be a decrease by 45.5% in blue WF with an increase by 88.1% in green WF, which could provide favorable conditions to enlarge irrigated areas and take technical measures for improving green water use efficiency of irrigation districts; (e) a clear rise in future grey WF would present enormous challenges for the protection of water resources and environmental pollution control in this catchment. So it should be to improved nutrient management strategies for the agricultural non-point source pollution control in irrigation districts, especially for the Hongchaojiang and Hepu irrigation districts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impacts of Climate Change on Hydrology, Water Quality and Ecology)
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Open AccessArticle Sustainability Index Evaluation of the Rainwater Harvesting System in Six US Urban Cities
Sustainability 2018, 10(1), 280; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10010280
Received: 21 November 2017 / Revised: 15 January 2018 / Accepted: 18 January 2018 / Published: 22 January 2018
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Abstract
This study investigated the sustainability of the rainwater harvesting system (RWHS) by analyzing six urban city sites with different rainfall statistics in the United States. We developed a new RWHS performance model by modifying a spreadsheet-based storage, treatment, and overflow runoff model (SS
[...] Read more.
This study investigated the sustainability of the rainwater harvesting system (RWHS) by analyzing six urban city sites with different rainfall statistics in the United States. We developed a new RWHS performance model by modifying a spreadsheet-based storage, treatment, and overflow runoff model (SS STORM) and verified its performance by comparing with another analytical RWHS model. The sustainability index (SI) evaluation method was used for a reservoir system and applied to the RWHS, employing modified resilience and vulnerability evaluation methods due to the different characteristics of a reservoir and the RWHS. The performance of modified SS STORM is very similar to that of the analytical method, except in Los Angeles, which is characterized by long inter-event times and low rainfall event depths due to low annual rainfall. The sustainability indices were successfully evaluated depending on both RWHS size and water demand and vary over a wide range as annual rainfall increases. This study proposes a new RWHS performance model and sustainability index evaluation method. Further study should confirm the proposed approach in regions with widely different rainfall characteristics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impacts of Climate Change on Hydrology, Water Quality and Ecology)
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Open AccessArticle How Do Terrestrial Determinants Impact the Response of Water Quality to Climate Drivers?—An Elasticity Perspective on the Water–Land–Climate Nexus
Sustainability 2017, 9(11), 2118; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9112118
Received: 16 September 2017 / Revised: 7 November 2017 / Accepted: 15 November 2017 / Published: 17 November 2017
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Abstract
Investigating water–land–climate interactions is critical for urban development and watershed management. This study examined this nexus by elasticity and statistical approaches through the lens of three watersheds: The Yukon, Mekong and Murray. Here, this study reports the fundamental characteristics, explanations and ecological and
[...] Read more.
Investigating water–land–climate interactions is critical for urban development and watershed management. This study examined this nexus by elasticity and statistical approaches through the lens of three watersheds: The Yukon, Mekong and Murray. Here, this study reports the fundamental characteristics, explanations and ecological and management implications of terrestrial determinant influence on the response of water quality to climate drivers. The stability of the response, measured by climate elasticity of water quality (CEWQ), is highly dependent on terrestrial determinants, with strong impacts from anthropogenic biomes and low impacts from surficial geology. Compared to temperature elasticity, precipitation elasticity of water quality is more unstable due to its possible linkages with many terrestrial determinants. Correlation and linear models were developed for the interaction system, which uncovered many interesting scenarios. The results implied that watersheds with a higher ratio of rangeland biomes have a lower risk of instability as compared to watersheds with a higher proportion of dense settlement, cropland and forested biomes. This study discusses some of the most essential pathways where instability might adversely affect CEWQ parameters and recommends suggestions for policy makers to alleviate the instability impacts to bring sustainability to the water environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impacts of Climate Change on Hydrology, Water Quality and Ecology)
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