Abstract

This study uses high resolution Climate Forecast System Reanalysis (CFSR), SWAT and two IPCC climate change (CC) scenarios (A1B and B1) combined with two GCMs (HADCM3 and MPEH5) to evaluate impact of CC on streamflow in the White Volta basin of West Africa. The evaluation criteria (R2 and NSE > 0.70 and PBIAS within ±25%) during calibration and validation showed good simulation of the basin hydrology. Using average streamflow from 1979 to 2008 as a baseline, there were uncertainties over the sign of variation of annual streamflow in the 2020s. Annually, streamflow change is projected to be within −4.00% to +13.00% in the 2020s and +3.00% to +16.00% in the 2050s. Monthly streamflow changes for most months vary between −13.00% and +32.00%. A shift in monthly maximum streamflow from September to August is projected, while the driest months (December, January and February) show no change in the future. Based on the model results, the White Volta basin will likely experience an increase in streamflow by the mid-21st century. This would call for appropriate investment into cost-effective adaptive water management practices to cater for the likely impact of CC on the future hydrology of the basin.

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