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Impact of precipitation and temperature changes on hydrological responses of small-scale catchments in the Ethiopian Highlands

posted on 03.10.2016, 13:10 by Tatenda Lemann, Vincent Roth, Gete Zeleke

The hydrological response of catchments with different rainfall patterns was assessed to understand the availability of blue and green water and the impacts of changing precipitation and temperature in the Ethiopian Highlands. Monthly discharge of three small-scale catchments was simulated, calibrated, and validated with a dataset of more than 30 years. Different temperature and precipitation scenarios were used to compare the hydrological responses in all three catchments. Results indicate that runoff reacts disproportionately strongly to precipitation and temperature changes: a 24% increase in precipitation led to a 50% increase in average annual runoff, and an average annual rainfall–runoff ratio that was 20% higher. An increase in temperature led to an increase of evapotranspiration and resulted in a decrease in the rainfall–runoff ratio. But a comparison of combined results with different climate change scenarios shows that downstream stakeholders can expect a higher share of available blue water in the future.


This work was supported by the Centre for Development and Environment (CDE), University of Bern, Switzerland; Institute of Geography, University of Bern, Switzerland.