Stormwater runoff in the USA is a main driver of non-point source pollution and other major problems for urbanizing areas, and runoff effects will be exacerbated by the increased frequency and intensity of heavier storm events that are projected as climate changes. The purpose of this paper is to consider how increased rainfall from storms could influence direct stormwater runoff in urbanizing watersheds. As part of a recent research project in coastal Beaufort County, South Carolina, USA, we applied the Stormwater Runoff Modeling System (SWARM) to model various combinations of development levels and climate change scenarios. SWARM single-event output showed dramatic increases in runoff volume and rate, in some cases almost doubling under moderate climate change scenario and tripling under severe climate change scenario. In all cases, modeled impacts from climate change exceeded those of development. By quantifying stormwater runoff based on climate change scenarios within the context of development, the findings add to the recognition that they must be considered together when projecting changes in watershed hydrology and that climate change effects potentially exceed those of development.
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