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Open AccessArticle

Recent Trends and Long-Range Forecasts of Water Resources of Northeast Iraq and Climate Change Adaptation Measures

1
School of Engineering & Technology, Central Queensland University, Melbourne, VIC 3000, Australia
2
Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Luleå University of Technology, 97187 Luleå, Sweden
3
Department of Geospatial Sciences, RMIT University, Melbourne, VIC 3000, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2018, 10(11), 1562; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10111562
Received: 25 September 2018 / Revised: 26 October 2018 / Accepted: 31 October 2018 / Published: 2 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Resources Management Strategy Under Global Change)
Iraq has been experiencing water resources scarcity, and is vulnerable to climate change. Analysis of historical data revealed that the region is experiencing climate change to a degree higher than generally reported elsewhere. The relationship between climate change and its effect on water resources of a region has been sparsely addressed in published literature. To fill that gap this research work first investigates if there has been a significant change in climate in the region, which has been found to be true. In the next stage, the research projects future climatic scenarios of the region based on six oft-used General Circulation Model (GCM) ensembles, namely CCSM4, CSIRO-Mk3.6.0, GFDL-ESM2M, MEROC5, HadGEM2-ES, and IPSL-CM5A-LR. The relationship between climate change and its impact on water resources is explored through the application of the popular, widely used SWAT model. The model depicts the availability of water resources, classified separately as blue and green waters, for near and distant futures for the region. Some of the findings are foreboding and warrants urgent attention of planners and decision makers. According to model outputs, the region may experience precipitation reduction of about 12.6% and 21% in near (2049–2069) and distant (2080–2099) futures, respectively under RCP8.5. Those figures under RCP4.5 are 15% and 23.4%, respectively and under RCP2.6 are 12.2% and 18.4%, respectively. As a consequence, the blue water may experience decreases of about 22.6% and 40% under RCP8.5, 25.8% and 46% under RCP4.5, and 34.4% and 31% under RCP2.6 during the periods 2049–2069 and 2080–2099, respectively. Green water, by contrast, may reduce by about 10.6% and 19.6% under RCP8.5, by about 14.8% and 19.4% under RCP4.5, and by about 15.8% and 14.2% under RCP2.6 during the periods 2049–2069 and 2080–2099, respectively. The research further investigates how the population are adapting to already changed climates and how they are expected to cope in the future when the shift in climate is expected to be much greater. View Full-Text
Keywords: climate change; SWAT model; general circulation model; Iraq climate change; SWAT model; general circulation model; Iraq
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Abbas, N.; Wasimi, S.A.; Al-Ansari, N.; Nasrin Baby, S. Recent Trends and Long-Range Forecasts of Water Resources of Northeast Iraq and Climate Change Adaptation Measures. Water 2018, 10, 1562.

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