Thresholds of hydrologic flow regime of a river and investigation of climate change impact—the case of the Lower Brahmaputra river Basin

Gain, A. K., Apel, H., Renaud, F. G. and Giupponi, C. (2013) Thresholds of hydrologic flow regime of a river and investigation of climate change impact—the case of the Lower Brahmaputra river Basin. Climatic Change, 120(1-2), pp. 463-475. (doi: 10.1007/s10584-013-0800-x)

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Abstract

The sustainability of social-ecological systems depends on river flows being maintained within a range to which those systems are adapted. In order to determine the extent of this natural range of variation, we assess ecological flow thresholds and the occurrence of potentially damaging flood events to society in the context of the Lower Brahmaputra river basin. The ecological flow threshold was calculated using twenty-two ‘Range of Variability (RVA)’ parameters, considering the range between ± 1 standard deviation from the mean of the natural flow. Damaging flood events were calculated using flood frequency analysis of Annual Maxima series and using the flood classification of Bangladesh. The climate change impacts on future river flow were calculated by using a weighted ensemble analysis of twelve global circulation models (GCMs) outputs driving a large-scale hydrologic model. The simulated climate change induced altered flow regime of the Lower Brahmaputra River Basin was then investigated and compared with the calculated threshold flows. The results demonstrate that various parameters including the monthly mean of low flow (January, February and March) and high flow (June, July and August) periods, the 7-day average minimum flow, and the yearly maximum flow will exceed the threshold conditions by 1956–1995 under the business-as-usual A1B and A2 future scenarios. The results have a number of policy level implications for government agencies of the Lower Brahmaputra River Basin, specifically for Bangladesh. The calculated thresholds may be used as a good basis for negotiations with other riparian countries of the basin. The methodological approach presented in this study can be applied to other river basins and provide a useful basis for transboundary water resources management.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Renaud, Professor Fabrice
Authors: Gain, A. K., Apel, H., Renaud, F. G., and Giupponi, C.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Interdisciplinary Studies
Journal Name:Climatic Change
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0165-0009
ISSN (Online):1573-1480
Published Online:07 June 2013

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