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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 21, issue 4
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 21, 2143–2161, 2017
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-21-2143-2017
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 21, 2143–2161, 2017
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-21-2143-2017
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 20 Apr 2017

Research article | 20 Apr 2017

Impact of climate change on hydrological conditions in a tropical West African catchment using an ensemble of climate simulations

Yacouba Yira1, Bernd Diekkrüger1, Gero Steup1, and Aymar Yaovi Bossa2,3 Yacouba Yira et al.
  • 1Department of Geography, University of Bonn, Meckenheimer Allee 166, 53115 Bonn, Germany
  • 2West African Science Service Center on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use-WASCAL, P.O. Box 9507, Ouagadougou 06, Burkina Faso
  • 3Department of Hydrology and Water Resources Management, National Institute of Water, University of Abomey-Calavi, P.O. Box 526, Cotonou 01, Benin

Abstract. This study evaluates climate change impacts on water resources using an ensemble of six regional climate models (RCMs)–global climate models (GCMs) in the Dano catchment (Burkina Faso). The applied climate datasets were performed in the framework of the COordinated Regional climate Downscaling Experiment (CORDEX-Africa) project.

After evaluation of the historical runs of the climate models' ensemble, a statistical bias correction (empirical quantile mapping) was applied to daily precipitation. Temperature and bias corrected precipitation data from the ensemble of RCMs–GCMs was then used as input for the Water flow and balance Simulation Model (WaSiM) to simulate water balance components.

The mean hydrological and climate variables for two periods (1971–2000 and 2021–2050) were compared to assess the potential impact of climate change on water resources up to the middle of the 21st century under two greenhouse gas concentration scenarios, the Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) 4.5 and 8.5. The results indicate (i) a clear signal of temperature increase of about 0.1 to 2.6 °C for all members of the RCM–GCM ensemble; (ii) high uncertainty about how the catchment precipitation will evolve over the period 2021–2050; (iii) the applied bias correction method only affected the magnitude of the climate change signal; (iv) individual climate models results lead to opposite discharge change signals; and (v) the results for the RCM–GCM ensemble are too uncertain to give any clear direction for future hydrological development. Therefore, potential increase and decrease in future discharge have to be considered in climate change adaptation strategies in the catchment. The results further underline on the one hand the need for a larger ensemble of projections to properly estimate the impacts of climate change on water resources in the catchment and on the other hand the high uncertainty associated with climate projections for the West African region. A water-energy budget analysis provides further insight into the behavior of the catchment.

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The current study aims to investigate the future climate change impacts on the hydrology of the Dano catchment in Burkina Faso, thus contributing to the management of water resources in the region. Temperature and bias corrected precipitation data from an ensemble of six RCMs–GCMs were used as input for the Water flow and balance Simulation Model to simulate water balance components. The results indicate potential increase and decrease in future discharge in the catchment.
The current study aims to investigate the future climate change impacts on the hydrology of the...
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