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Open AccessArticle

Simulation of the Potential Impacts of Projected Climate Change on Streamflow in the Vakhsh River Basin in Central Asia under CMIP5 RCP Scenarios

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State Key Laboratory of Desert and Oasis Ecology, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Urumqi 830011, China
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Research Center for Ecology and Environment of Central Asia, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Urumqi 830011, China
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Institute of Water Problems, Hydropower and Ecology of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tajikistan, Dushanbe 734042, Tajikistan
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Ministry of Energy and Water Resources of the Republic of Tajikistan, Dushanbe 734064, Tajikistan
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University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
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Department of Land and Water Conservation Engineering, Faculty of Agricultural Engineering and Technology, Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi, Rawalpindi 46000, Pakistan
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Key Laboratory of Remote Sensing and Geospatial Science, Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000, China
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2020, 12(5), 1426; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12051426 (registering DOI)
Received: 1 April 2020 / Revised: 12 May 2020 / Accepted: 15 May 2020 / Published: 17 May 2020
Millions of people in Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan are dependent on the freshwater supply of the Vakhsh River system. Sustainable management of the water resources of the Vakhsh River Basin (VRB) requires comprehensive assessment regarding future climate change and its implications for streamflow. In this study, we assessed the potential impacts of projected climate change scenarios on the streamflow in the VRB for two future periods (2022–2060 and 2061–2099). The probable changes in the regional climate system were assessed using the outputs of five global climate models (GCMs) under two representative concentration pathways (RCPs), RCP4.5 and RCP8.5. The probable streamflow was simulated using a semi-distributed hydrological model, namely the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT). Evidence of a significant increase in the annual average temperature by the end of the 21st century was found, ranging from 2.25 to 4.40 °C under RCP4.5 and from 4.40 to 6.60 °C under RCP8.5. The results of three GCMs indicated a decreasing tendency of annual average precipitation (from −1.7% to −16.0% under RCP4.5 and from −3.4% to −29.8% under RCP8.5). Under RCP8.5, two GCMs indicated an increase (from 2.3% to 5.3%) in the average annual precipitation by the end of 2099. The simulated results of the hydrological model reported an increasing tendency of average annual streamflow, from 17.5% to 52.3% under both RCPs, by the end of 2099. A shift in the peak flow month was also found, i.e., from July to June, under both RCPs. It is expected that in the future, median and high flows might increase, whereas low flow might decrease by the end of 2099. It is concluded that the future seasonal streamflow in the VRB are highly uncertain due to the probable alterations in temperature and precipitation. The findings of the present study could be useful for understanding the future hydrological behavior of the Vakhsh River, for the planning of sustainable regional irrigation systems in the downstream countries, i.e., Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, and for the construction of hydropower plants in the upstream countries. View Full-Text
Keywords: climate change; hydrological model; streamflow; global climate models; Vakhsh River Basin climate change; hydrological model; streamflow; global climate models; Vakhsh River Basin
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Gulakhmadov, A.; Chen, X.; Gulahmadov, N.; Liu, T.; Anjum, M.N.; Rizwan, M. Simulation of the Potential Impacts of Projected Climate Change on Streamflow in the Vakhsh River Basin in Central Asia under CMIP5 RCP Scenarios. Water 2020, 12, 1426.

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