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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Mississippi State, Mississippi » Crop Science Research Laboratory » Genetics and Sustainable Agriculture Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #407631

Research Project: Closing the Yield Gap of Cotton, Corn, and Soybean in the Humid Southeast with More Sustainable Cropping Systems

Location: Genetics and Sustainable Agriculture Research

Title: Linking climate-change impacts on hydrological processes and water quality to local watersheds

item OUYANG, YING - Forest Service (FS)
item PANDA, SUDHANSHU - University Of North Georgia
item Feng, Gary

Submitted to: Soil & Tillage Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/23/2022
Publication Date: 6/30/2022
Citation: Ouyang, Y., Panda, S., Feng, G.G. 2022. Linking climate-change impacts on hydrological processes and water quality to local watersheds. Soil & Tillage Research. 10(7):96.

Interpretive Summary: Estimation of hydrological processes and water quality is central to water resource management, clean water supply, environmental protection, and ecological service [1-2]. Climate change is a natural phenomenon, but anthropogenic activities such as fossil fuel burning, industrial pollution, land use change, and population growth have accelerated greenhouse gas emissions, which have, in turn, resulted in abnormal climate patterns [3]. These patterns exacerbate hydrologic and water quality uncertainties in predicting drought, flood, water resource availability, environmental pollution, and ecosystem service. To mitigate such climate change impacts, water resource managers and decision makers should be able to assess potential threats and develop strategies to adapt for future climatic conditions. Currently, projection of future climate impacts on hydrologic cycles and water quality are generally accomplished through process-based watershed models in conjunction with future climate change scenarios that are created by the general circulation models (GCMs), regional climate models (RCMs), and coupled model inter comparison project phase (CMIP5). While these scenarios provide invaluable insights into the direction to project the future hydrologic and water quality trends, the limitations on using these scenarios are [4]: (1) They have low spatial resolution and are somewhat difficult to downscale for local watersheds (i.e., smaller than HUC12 level watersheds); (2) They are in low temporal resolution (e.g., weekly or monthly time intervals) and are difficult to disaggregate into daily or hourly interval required by some watershed models; and (3) They are not flexible to answer the “what-if” questions for local watersheds such as: What will happen to streamflow, water quality, and water availability in a small watershed if the abnormal and localized rainfall (cloudburst) events (e.g., very dry in July and very wet in November) occur in the next five years? In order to take those challenges and meet the needs, this Special Issue "Assessment of Climate Change Impacts on Water Quantity and Quality at Small Scale Watersheds", inspired by the Hydrology–H030 Session of the 2019 AGU (America Geophysical Union) Fall Meeting, was initiated to circumvent the limitations.

Technical Abstract: The papers collected in this Special Issue tackle multiple aspects on how hydrological processes and water quality at local watersheds could be affected by climate change through hydrological modeling, statistical analysis, and field measurement. In addition, climate change implications and adaptions based on research findings are discussed and are highly beneficial to local water resources managers and stakeholders. In addition, the studies in this collection provide a variety of research methods and approaches to attack challenging questions exist at local watersheds under various climate change scenarios. As seen with wide-range of articles published in the Special Issue, climate-centric researchers engaged in the said topics will be highly benefited. Today, most climate change studies focus on large regional and global scales or using climate change scenarios that have low flexibility with inaccurate data for local scale watersheds. The topics in this issue provide a new research direction in dealing with local watersheds under changing climate and will receive a global interest for years to come. As the research articles in the Special Issue encompasses various spatially (geographically) differentiated watersheds, covering developed, developing, and even poor countries with different watershed management conditions available to them due to funding availability, the research results, especially the decision supports developed through the studies will be very beneficial in furthering watershed hydrologic research under changing climate conditions. Studies in the Special Issue included heterogeneous environmental features, such as landuse, soils, topography, climate/weather pattern, and above all hydrological scenarios and can help future studies through inferring research methods from them.