Journal cover Journal topic
Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2017-468
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
04 Aug 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).
Land-use change may exacerbate climate change impacts on water resources in the Ganges basin
Gina Tsarouchi1,2,3 and Wouter Buytaert1,2 1Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Imperial College London, London, UK
2Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment, Imperial College London, London, UK
3HR Wallingford, Howbery Park, Wallingford, Oxfordshire OX10 8BA, UK
Abstract. Quantifying how land-use change and climate change affect water resources is a challenge in hydrological science. The Upper Ganges (UG) river basin in northern India experiences monsoon flooding almost every year. Studies have shown evidence of strong coupling between the land surface (soil moisture) and atmosphere (precipitation) in northern India, which means that regional climate variations and changes in land use/cover could influence the temporal dynamics of land-atmosphere interactions.

This work aims to quantify how future projections of land-use and climate change are affecting the hydrological response of the UG river basin. Two different sets of modelling experiments were run using the JULES Land Surface Model and covering the period 2000–2035: In the first set, climate change is taken into account, as JULES was driven by the CMIP5 (Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5) outputs of 21 models, under two Representative Concentration Pathways (RCP4.5 & RCP8.5), whilst land use was kept constant at year 2010. In the second set, both climate change and land-use change were taken into consideration, as apart from the CMIP5 model outputs, JULES was also forced with a time-series of 15 future land-use scenarios, based on Landsat satellite imagery and Markov chain simulation. Variations in hydrological variables (stream flow, evapotranspiration and soil moisture) are calculated during the simulation period.

Significant changes in the near-future (years 2030–2035) hydrologic fluxes arise under future land cover and climate change scenarios pointing towards a severe increase in high extremes of flow: the multi-model mean of the 95th percentile of streamflow [Q5] is projected to increase by 63 % under the combined land-use and climate change high emissions scenario [RCP8.5]. The changes in all examined hydrological components are greater in the combined land-use and climate change experiment.

Results are further presented in a water resources context, aiming to address potential implications of climate change from a water-demand perspective, highlighting that that demand thresholds in the UG region are projected to be exceeded in the future winter months (Dec–Feb).


Citation: Tsarouchi, G. and Buytaert, W.: Land-use change may exacerbate climate change impacts on water resources in the Ganges basin, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2017-468, in review, 2017.
Gina Tsarouchi and Wouter Buytaert
Gina Tsarouchi and Wouter Buytaert
Gina Tsarouchi and Wouter Buytaert

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