Regional hydrological impacts of climate change: implications for water management in India
1Department of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore 560012, India
2Divecha Center for Climate Change, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore 560012, India
Abstract. Climate change is most likely to introduce an additional stress to already stressed water systems in developing countries. Climate change is inherently linked with the hydrological cycle and is expected to cause significant alterations in regional water resources systems necessitating measures for adaptation and mitigation. Increasing temperatures, for example, are likely to change precipitation patterns resulting in alterations of regional water availability, evapotranspirative water demand of crops and vegetation, extremes of floods and droughts, and water quality. A comprehensive assessment of regional hydrological impacts of climate change is thus necessary. Global climate model simulations provide future projections of the climate system taking into consideration changes in external forcings, such as atmospheric carbon-dioxide and aerosols, especially those resulting from anthropogenic emissions. However, such simulations are typically run at a coarse scale, and are not equipped to reproduce regional hydrological processes. This paper summarizes recent research on the assessment of climate change impacts on regional hydrology, addressing the scale and physical processes mismatch issues. Particular attention is given to changes in water availability, irrigation demands and water quality. This paper also includes description of the methodologies developed to address uncertainties in the projections resulting from incomplete knowledge about future evolution of the human-induced emissions and from using multiple climate models. Approaches for investigating possible causes of historically observed changes in regional hydrological variables are also discussed. Illustrations of all the above-mentioned methods are provided for Indian regions with a view to specifically aiding water management in India.
Mondal, A. and Mujumdar, P. P.: Regional hydrological impacts of climate change: implications for water management in India, Proc. IAHS, 366, 34-43, doi:10.5194/piahs-366-34-2015, 2015.