This research investigated the effect of climate change on the two main river basins of Senegal in West Africa: the Senegal and Gambia River Basins. We used downscaled projected future rainfall and potential evapotranspiration based on projected temperature from six General Circulation Models (CanESM2, CNRM, CSIRO, HadGEM2-CC, HadGEM2-ES, and MIROC5) and two scenarios (RCP4.5 and RCP8.5) to force the GR4J model. The GR4J model was calibrated and validated using observed daily rainfall, potential evapotranspiration from observed daily temperature, and streamflow data. For the cross-validation, two periods for each river basin were considered: 1961–1982 and 1983–2004 for the Senegal River Basin at Bafing Makana, and 1969–1985 and 1986–2000 for the Gambia River Basin at Mako. Model efficiency is evaluated using a multi-criteria function (Fagg
) which aggregates Nash and Sutcliffe criteria, cumulative volume error, and mean volume error. Alternating periods of simulation for calibration and validation were used. This process allows us to choose the parameters that best reflect the rainfall-runoff relationship. Once the model was calibrated and validated, we simulated streamflow at Bafing Makana and Mako stations in the near future at a daily scale. The characteristic flow rates were calculated to evaluate their possible evolution under the projected climate scenarios at the 2050 horizon. For the near future (2050 horizon), compared to the 1971–2000 reference period, results showed that for both river basins, multi-model ensemble predicted a decrease of annual streamflow from 8% (Senegal River Basin) to 22% (Gambia River Basin) under the RCP4.5 scenario. Under the RCP8.5 scenario, the decrease is more pronounced: 16% (Senegal River Basin) and 26% (Gambia River Basin). The Gambia River Basin will be more affected by the climate change.
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