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The evaluation of climate change impact on hydrologic processes of a mountain river basin

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Abstract

The influence of climate change on the catchment-scale hydrologic processes can have a profound impact on river flow and the availability of fresh water. Here, we develop an integrated modeling framework to assess the near- and long-term hydrological response to climate change in a mountain river basin. The framework samples climate model outputs under different representative concentration pathways to force the calibrated hydrologic model and generate daily streamflow projections. We implement a framework in the Modi River basin, with an elevation ranging from 750 m to over 8000 m above sea level. Under the highest warming scenario, the mean annual precipitation and temperature are projected to vary to be as high as 4531 mm and 25.7 °C, respectively. The study results show that the future streamflow of the Modi River basin will increase during the latter time windows, i.e., far future (2075–2099) >  > mid future (2050–2074) >  > near future (2025–2049). Exploring how climate change can alter different hydrological processes can help improve the fundamental understanding of water balance and hydrologic controls, which are critical in ensuring the functionality of the natural ecosystems.

https://doi.org/10.1007/s00704-022-04204-3