Analysis of climate change impact on runoff and sediment delivery in a great lakes watershed using SWAT

Rabin Bhattarai, Nathan S. Bosch

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The greenhouse gas loading of the atmosphere has been increasing since the mid 19th century, which threatens to change the earth's climate in the 21st century. It is projected that the change in greenhouse gas loading may lead to rise in global temperature and alter precipitation pattern in the future. For a potential warmer climate in future, a 7-15% increase in global evaporation and precipitation rates is estimated as per Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports. Global warming and subsequent climate change could raise sea level by several tens of centimeters in the next fifty years. The objective of the current study is to analyze the impact of climate change on runoff and sediment delivery in a Great Lakes watershed located in Northern Ohio. The Maumee River watershed is a predominantly agricultural watershed with an area of 6330 square miles and drains into Lake Erie. Agricultural area covers about 73% of the watershed while wooded area covers 8%, 10% is urban area, and other land uses account for 9%. The Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model is used for both water quantity and water quality simulations for past and future scenarios. SWAT is a continuous, long-term watershed scale simulation model which operates on a daily time step. The model is physically based, computationally efficient, and capable of assessing the impact of climate and watershed management on water, sediment, and nutrient/chemical yields. The SWAT model has been calibrated for flow and sediment yield from 1995 to 2005 for the watershed. The calibrated model has been used to predict future flow and sediment delivery scenarios due to possible climate change in the Maumee River basin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSediment Transport
Subtitle of host publicationMonitoring, Modeling and Management
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)9781626186835
StatePublished - 2013


  • Flow
  • Hydrology
  • Soil
  • Water quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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