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

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Sustainability and Applications".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Eun-Sung Chung
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Civil Engineering, Seoul National University of Science and Technology, Seoul, South Korea
Interests: climate change; hydrologic modeling; multicriteria decision making method; robust decision making; urban hydrology; water resources management
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Jiping Jiang
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Southern University of Science and Technology, Shenzhen, China
Interests: water quality modeling; environmental system analysis; environmental informatics
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Shamsuddin Shahid
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Civil Engineering, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Johor Bahru, Malaysia
Interests: water resources; climate change impacts and adaptation; hydrological hazards and risk; statistical hydrology; hydrological modeling
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

There have been various natural disasters, such as floods, droughts, and extreme hot and cold weather all around world. The stationarity of the global climate has been doubtful and, thus, many experts have warned that we must carefully prepare for the unexpected impact of climate change in various ways. For the particular preparation, the impact on hydrology, water quality, and ecology must clearly be assessed in a quantitative manner. It is, however, definitely accepted that all available future climate predictions from even CMIP5 cannot be trustful because of the randomness of climate events. Furthermore, the impacts which result from those climate change predictions can be, of course, highly uncertain. Therefore, the uncertainty regarding climate change impacts on hydrology, water quality, and ecology should be studied and must be considered in the real water resources and environmental management.

This Special Issue, which is the continuing issue of the former Special Issue, 'Impacts of Climate Change on Hydrology, Water Quality and Ecology' published in 2018, will include various approaches to assessing the uncertainty of impacts from many climate change scenarios and general circulation models on hydrology, water resources, water quality, and ecology. 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 reviews on this issue can be very helpful to all interested researchers in the world.

Prof. Eun-Sung Chung
Dr. Jiping Jiang
Prof. Shamsuddin Shahid
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1900 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 impact
  • Climate change scenarios
  • CMIP5
  • Ecology
  • General circulation model
  • Hydrology
  • Uncertainty
  • Water quality

Published Papers (12 papers)

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Research

Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle
Impacts of Climate Change on the Water Availability, Seasonality and Extremes in the Upper Indus Basin (UIB)
Sustainability 2020, 12(4), 1283; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12041283 - 11 Feb 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1117
Abstract
Projecting future hydrology for the mountainous, highly glaciated upper Indus basin (UIB) is a challenging task because of uncertainties in future climate projections and issues with the coverage and quality of available reference climatic data and hydrological modelling approaches. This study attempts to [...] Read more.
Projecting future hydrology for the mountainous, highly glaciated upper Indus basin (UIB) is a challenging task because of uncertainties in future climate projections and issues with the coverage and quality of available reference climatic data and hydrological modelling approaches. This study attempts to address these issues by utilizing the semi-distributed hydrological model “Soil and water assessment tool” (SWAT) with new climate datasets and better spatial and altitudinal representation as well as a wider range of future climate forcing models (general circulation model/regional climate model combinations (GCMs_RCMs) from the “Coordinated Regional Climate Downscaling Experiment-South Asia (CORDEX-SA) project to assess different aspects of future hydrology (mean flows, extremes and seasonal changes). Contour maps for the mean annual flow and actual evapotranspiration as a function of the downscaled projected mean annual precipitation and temperatures are produced and can serve as a “hands-on” forecast tool of future hydrology. The overall results of these future SWAT hydrological projections indicate similar trends of changes in magnitudes, seasonal patterns and extremes of the UIB—stream flows for almost all climate scenarios/models/periods—combinations analyzed. In particular, all but one GCM_RCM model—the one predicting a very high future temperature rise—indicated mean annual flow increases throughout the 21st century, wherefore, interestingly, these are stronger for the middle years (2041–2070) than at its end (2071–2100). The seasonal shifts as well as the extremes follow also similar trends for all climate scenario/model/period combinations, e.g., an earlier future arrival (in May–June instead of July–August) of high flows and increased spring and winter flows, with upper flow extremes (peaks) projected to drastically increase by 50 to >100%, and with significantly decreased annual recurrence intervals, i.e., a tremendously increased future flood hazard for the UIB. The future low flows projections also show more extreme values, with lower-than-nowadays-experienced minimal flows occurring more frequently and with much longer annual total duration. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Spatial Shift of Aridity and Its Impact on Land Use of Syria
Sustainability 2019, 11(24), 7047; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11247047 - 10 Dec 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1152
Abstract
Expansion of arid lands due to climate change, particularly in water stressed regions of the world can have severe implications on the economy and people’s livelihoods. The spatiotemporal trends in aridity, the shift of land from lower to higher arid classes and the [...] Read more.
Expansion of arid lands due to climate change, particularly in water stressed regions of the world can have severe implications on the economy and people’s livelihoods. The spatiotemporal trends in aridity, the shift of land from lower to higher arid classes and the effect of this shift on different land uses in Syria have been evaluated in this study for the period 1951–2010 using high-resolution monthly climate data of the Terrestrial Hydrology Research Group of Princeton University. The trends in rainfall, temperature and potential evapotranspiration were also evaluated to understand the causes of aridity shifts. The results revealed an expansion of aridity in Syria during 1951–1980 compared to 1981–2010. About 6.21% of semi-arid land was observed to shift to arid class and 5.91% dry-subhumid land to semi-arid land between the two periods. Analysis of results revealed that the decrease in rainfall is the major cause of increasing aridity in Syria. About 28.3% of agriculture land located in the north and the northwest was found to shift from humid to dry-subhumid or dry-subhumid to semi-arid. Analysis of results revealed that the shifting of drylands mostly occurred in the northern agricultural areas of Syria. The land productivity and irrigation needs can be severely affected by increasing aridity which may affect food security and the economy of the country. Full article
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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle
Influence of Surface Water Bodies on the Land Surface Temperature of Bangladesh
Sustainability 2019, 11(23), 6754; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11236754 - 28 Nov 2019
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 973
Abstract
Recent climate change has resulted in the reduction of several surface water bodies (SWBs) all around the globe. These SWBs, such as streams, rivers, lakes, wetlands, reservoirs, and creeks have a positive impact on the cooling of the surrounding climate and, therefore, reduction [...] Read more.
Recent climate change has resulted in the reduction of several surface water bodies (SWBs) all around the globe. These SWBs, such as streams, rivers, lakes, wetlands, reservoirs, and creeks have a positive impact on the cooling of the surrounding climate and, therefore, reduction in SWBs can contribute to the rise of land surface temperature (LST). This study presents the impact of SWBs on the LST across Bangladesh to quantify their roles in the rapid temperature rise of Bangladesh. The moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS) LST and water mask data of Bangladesh for the period 2000–2015 are used for this purpose. Influences of topography and geography on LST were first removed, and then regression analysis was conducted to quantify the impact of SWBs on the LST. The non-parametric Mann–Kendall (MK) test was used to assess the changes in LST and SWBs. The results revealed that SWBs were reduced from 11,379 km2 in 2000 to 9657 km2 in 2015. The trend analysis showed that changes in SWBs have reduced significantly at a 90% level of confidence, which contributed to the acceleration of LST rise in the country due to global warming. The spatial analysis during the specific years showed that an increase in LST can be seen with the reduction of SWBs. Furthermore, the reduction of 100 m2 of SWBs can reduce the LST of the surrounding regions from −1.2 to −2.2 °C. Full article
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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle
Hydrologic Alteration at the Upper and Middle Part of the Yangtze River, China: Towards Sustainable Water Resource Management Under Increasing Water Exploitation
Sustainability 2019, 11(19), 5176; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11195176 - 20 Sep 2019
Cited by 67 | Viewed by 1816
Abstract
The human influence on the river ecosystem has increased in recent years to feed the growing demand for water to communities by constructing different water structures. It is essential to understand the potential impacts of water structures on river hydrologic regimes. Thus, this [...] Read more.
The human influence on the river ecosystem has increased in recent years to feed the growing demand for water to communities by constructing different water structures. It is essential to understand the potential impacts of water structures on river hydrologic regimes. Thus, this study investigates the influence of the cascade dams located upstream of the Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River on the river ecosystem. The study was carried out for the period 2003–2015 for both Cuntan and Miaohe stations. The analysis was conducted considering two periods, pre-impact; before the dam construction and post-impact; after the dam construction. The assessment was carried out using “Indicators of Hydrologic Alteration.” The results of this study revealed that the cascade dams built upstream of Three Gorges Dam has both positive and negative impacts at both stations. Flows were found to have positive impacts in July while low in October for both stations. The 1-day minimum flows were found to decrease by 7% over Miaohe Station while the 1-day maximum was decreased up to 2% in Cuntan. Overall, the results of the study indicate that there are undesirable impacts which should be adjusted to maintain the river ecosystem at an acceptable level compared to its natural state. It is expected that the findings of the study can guide water managers to adjust the hydropower operation sustainably. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Intra- and Inter-Annual Variability of Hydrometeorological Variables in the Jinsha River Basin, Southwest China
Sustainability 2019, 11(19), 5142; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11195142 - 20 Sep 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 735
Abstract
In this study, the intra- and inter-annual variability of three major elements in the water system, temperature, precipitation and streamflow, from 1974 to 2010 in the Jinsha River Basin, China, were analyzed. An exploratory data analysis method, namely, moving average over shifting horizon [...] Read more.
In this study, the intra- and inter-annual variability of three major elements in the water system, temperature, precipitation and streamflow, from 1974 to 2010 in the Jinsha River Basin, China, were analyzed. An exploratory data analysis method, namely, moving average over shifting horizon (MASH), was introduced and combined with the Mann–Kendall (MK) test and Sen’s slope estimation to analyze the intra- and inter-annual variations. The combination of MASH with the MK test and Sen’s slope estimation demonstrated that the annual temperature, precipitation and streamflow from 1974 to 2010 showed, on average, an increasing trend. The highest change in temperature was detected in early January, 0.8 ℃, that of precipitation was detected in late June, 0.4 mm/day, and that of streamflow was detected mid-August, 138 mm/day. Sensitivity analysis of the smoothing parameters on estimated trends demonstrated that Y parameters smaller than 2 and w parameters smaller than 6 were not suitable for trend detection when applying the MASH method. The correlation between the smoothed data was generally greater than that between the original hydrometeorological data, which demonstrated that the application of MASH could eliminate the influence of periodicity and random fluctuations on hydrometeorological time series and could facilitate regularity and the detection of trends. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Water Resource Utilization and Livelihood Adaptations under the Background of Climate Change: A Case Study of Rural Households in the Koshi River Basin
Sustainability 2019, 11(18), 5064; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11185064 - 16 Sep 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 729
Abstract
In the Koshi River Basin, the effects of climate change have become clear. Agricultural countries, such as Nepal, depend on farmers’ adaptations to climate change for local sustainable development. Limited livelihood options, unequal access to resources and information, and climate change-related floods and [...] Read more.
In the Koshi River Basin, the effects of climate change have become clear. Agricultural countries, such as Nepal, depend on farmers’ adaptations to climate change for local sustainable development. Limited livelihood options, unequal access to resources and information, and climate change-related floods and droughts have reduced farmer welfare. Few studies have investigated the effects of altitude in rural areas or examined livelihood adaptation strategies in Nepal. Using a survey of farmers in rural areas at high, middle, and low altitudes in Nepal, this article explores the impacts of climate change-related floods and droughts, as well as the water resource utilization, disaster resilience, and livelihood improvement ability of farmers and the influencing factors. This article adopted participatory rural appraisal to obtain survey data from farmers at three altitudes. Through one-way ANOVA and F-tests, farmers’ perceptions of floods and droughts were analyzed, and through field investigations, their production and water consumption patterns were established. Logistic regressions show that college education, farming income, and domestic water consumption have the strongest impacts on households’ disaster resilience, while non-farm income, male laborer rates, and college education have the strongest impacts on households’ abilities to improve livelihoods. Based on our results, we offer countermeasures and suggestions on education, gender equality, and rural infrastructure construction. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Environmental Impacts and Optimal Environmental Policies of Macroeconomic Uncertainty Shocks: A Dynamic Model Approach
Sustainability 2019, 11(18), 4993; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11184993 - 12 Sep 2019
Viewed by 648
Abstract
The existing literature on carbon policy analysis in a random environment focuses on the existence of the level (first-moment) shocks, whereas recent research emphasized the nonnegligible impact of uncertainty (second-moment) shocks on macroeconomy. This paper studies the impact of uncertainty (second-moment) shocks on [...] Read more.
The existing literature on carbon policy analysis in a random environment focuses on the existence of the level (first-moment) shocks, whereas recent research emphasized the nonnegligible impact of uncertainty (second-moment) shocks on macroeconomy. This paper studies the impact of uncertainty (second-moment) shocks on the carbon emissions, abatement investment, and output. We construct an environmental dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (E-DSGE) model that features uncertainty shocks from the good demand and supply. By comparing the social welfare among carbon taxation, intensity, and capacity regimes, we show that the carbon taxation is the best policy regarding positive uncertainty shocks of households preference (good demand), whereas capacity and intensity targets are preferable under the uncertainty shocks of firms productivity (good supply). Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Uncertainty Assessment in Drought Severities for the Cheongmicheon Watershed Using Multiple GCMs and the Reliability Ensemble Averaging Method
Sustainability 2019, 11(16), 4283; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11164283 - 08 Aug 2019
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 916
Abstract
The consequence of climate variations on hydrology remains the greatest challenging aspect of managing water resources. This research focused on the quantitative approach of the uncertainty in variations of climate influence on drought pattern of the Cheongmicheon watershed by assigning weights to General [...] Read more.
The consequence of climate variations on hydrology remains the greatest challenging aspect of managing water resources. This research focused on the quantitative approach of the uncertainty in variations of climate influence on drought pattern of the Cheongmicheon watershed by assigning weights to General Circulation Models (GCMs) based on model performances. Three drought indices, Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI), Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) and Streamflow Drought Index (SDI) are used for three durations 3-, 6- and 9-months. This study included 27 GCMs from Coupled Model Intercomparison Project 5 (CMIP5) and considered three future periods (2011–2040, 2041–2070 and 2071–2100) of the concentration scenario of Representation Concentration Pathway (RCP) 4.5. Compared to SPEI and SDI, SPI identified more droughts in severe or extreme categories of shorter time scales than SPEI or SDI. The results suggested that the discrepancy in temperature plays a significant part in characterizing droughts. The Reliability Ensemble Averaging (REA) technique was used to give a mathematical approximation of associated uncertainty range and reliability of future climate change predictions. The uncertainty range and reliability of Root Mean Square Error (RMSE) varied among GCMs and total uncertainty ranges were between 50% and 200%. This study provides the approach for realistic projections by incorporating model performance ensemble averaging based on weights from RMSE. Full article
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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle
Evaluation of Empirical Reference Evapotranspiration Models Using Compromise Programming: A Case Study of Peninsular Malaysia
Sustainability 2019, 11(16), 4267; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11164267 - 07 Aug 2019
Cited by 20 | Viewed by 1478
Abstract
Selection of appropriate empirical reference evapotranspiration (ETo) estimation models is very important for the management of agriculture, water resources, and environment. Statistical metrics generally used for performance assessment of empirical ETo models, on a station level, often give contradictory results, [...] Read more.
Selection of appropriate empirical reference evapotranspiration (ETo) estimation models is very important for the management of agriculture, water resources, and environment. Statistical metrics generally used for performance assessment of empirical ETo models, on a station level, often give contradictory results, which make the ranking of methods a challenging task. Besides, the ranking of ETo estimation methods for a given study area based on the rank at different stations is also a difficult task. Compromise programming and group decision-making methods have been proposed in this study for the ranking of 31 empirical ETo models for Peninsular Malaysia based on four standard statistical metrics. The result revealed the Penman-Monteith as the most suitable method of estimation of ETo, followed by radiation-based Priestley and Taylor and the mass transfer-based Dalton and Meyer methods. Among the temperature-based methods, Ivanov was found the best. The methodology suggested in this study can be adopted in any other region for an easy but robust evaluation of empirical ETo models. Full article
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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle
Spatial Pattern of the Unidirectional Trends in Thermal Bioclimatic Indicators in Iran
Sustainability 2019, 11(8), 2287; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11082287 - 16 Apr 2019
Cited by 20 | Viewed by 1571
Abstract
Changes in bioclimatic indicators can provide valuable information on how global warming induced climate change can affect humans, ecology and the environment. Trends in thermal bioclimatic indicators over the diverse climate of Iran were assessed in this study to comprehend their spatio-temporal changes [...] Read more.
Changes in bioclimatic indicators can provide valuable information on how global warming induced climate change can affect humans, ecology and the environment. Trends in thermal bioclimatic indicators over the diverse climate of Iran were assessed in this study to comprehend their spatio-temporal changes in different climates. The gridded temperature data of Princeton Global Meteorological Forcing with a spatial resolution of 0.25° and temporal extent of 1948–2010 was used for this purpose. Autocorrelation and wavelets analyses were conducted to assess the presence of self-similarity and cycles in the data series. The modified version of the Mann–Kendall (MMK) test was employed to estimate unidirectional trends in 11 thermal bioclimatic indicators through removing the influence of natural cycles on trend significance. A large decrease in the number of grid points showing significant trends was noticed for the MMK in respect to the classical Mann–Kendall (MK) test which indicates that the natural variability of the climate should be taken into consideration in bioclimatic trend analyses in Iran. The unidirectional trends obtained using the MMK test revealed changes in almost all of the bioclimatic indicators in different parts of Iran, which indicates rising temperature have significantly affected the bioclimate of the country. The semi-dry region along the Persian Gulf in the south and mountainous region in the northeast were found to be more affected in terms of the changes in a number of bioclimatic indicators. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Projection of Extreme Precipitation Based on a Selection of CMIP5 GCMs over North Korea
Sustainability 2019, 11(7), 1976; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11071976 - 03 Apr 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1172
Abstract
The numerous choices between climate change scenarios makes decision-making difficult for the assessment of climate change impacts. Previous studies have used climate models to compare performance in terms of simulating observed climates or preserving model variability among scenarios. In this study, the Katsavounidis-Kuo-Zhang [...] Read more.
The numerous choices between climate change scenarios makes decision-making difficult for the assessment of climate change impacts. Previous studies have used climate models to compare performance in terms of simulating observed climates or preserving model variability among scenarios. In this study, the Katsavounidis-Kuo-Zhang algorithm was applied to select representative climate change scenarios (RCCS) that preserve the variability among all climate change scenarios (CCS). The performance of multi-model ensemble of RCCS was evaluated for reference and future climates. It was found that RCCS was well suited for observations and multi model ensemble of all CCS. Using the RCCS under RCP (Representative Concentration Pathway) 8.5, the future extreme precipitation was projected. As a result, the magnitude and frequency of extreme precipitation increased towards the farther future. Especially, extreme precipitation (daily maximum precipitation of 20-year return-period) during 2070-2099, was projected to occur once every 8.3-year. The RCCS employed in this study is able to successfully represent the performance of all CCS, therefore, this approach can give opportunities managing water resources efficiently for assessment of climate change impacts. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Vegetation Degradation and Its Driving Factors in the Farming–Pastoral Ecotone over the Countries along Belt and Road Initiative
Sustainability 2019, 11(6), 1590; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11061590 - 15 Mar 2019
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 963
Abstract
To adhere to the green growth strategy, it is urgently needed to identify the vegetation degradation zone in the farming–pastoral ecotone (FPE) over the countries along the “Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)”. In this study, we monitored vegetation degradation and analyzed climatic factors [...] Read more.
To adhere to the green growth strategy, it is urgently needed to identify the vegetation degradation zone in the farming–pastoral ecotone (FPE) over the countries along the “Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)”. In this study, we monitored vegetation degradation and analyzed climatic factors and anthropogenic contributions on vegetation change in the FPE during 2000–2016 using the growing season annual accumulative normalized difference vegetation index (NDVIaccu) and climatic variables. The Theil-Sen’s trend results revealed that 74.11% of NDVIaccu in FPEs showed a significant increasing trend for the period 2000–2016, only 1.64% of NDVIaccu were significantly decreasing. However, we detected that 21.29% degradation of NDVIaccu had occurred based on enhanced Theil-Sen and Mann-Kendall (ETheil-Sen-MK) method. Spatial statistics for significant correlations between climatic variables and NDVIaccu showed that precipitation was positively correlated with NDVIaccu; yet, the relationship between NDVIaccu and temperature was more complex, which was closely related to the intensity of increasing in temperature. Importantly, this study found that anthropogenic contributions dominated the trends in NDVIaccu over the FPE. The findings suggested that agricultural activities play a mainly positive role in overall vegetation vigor. However, continually increasing disturbance by livestock grazing risks further vegetation degradation. Full article
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