Integrated Assessment of Hadley Centre (HadCM2) Climate Change Projections on Agricultural Productivity and Irrigation Water Supply in the Conterminous United States.I. Climate change scenarios and impacts on irrigation water supply simulated with the HUM
This paper describes methodology and results of a study by researchers at PNNL contributing to the water sector study of the U.S. National Assessment of Climate Change. The vulnerability of water resources in the conterminous U.S. to climate change in 10-y periods centered on 2030 and 2095--as projected by the HadCM2 general circulation model--was modeled with HUMUS (Hydrologic Unit Model of the U.S.). HUMUS consists of a GIS that provides data on soils, land use and climate to drive the hydrology model Soil Water Assessment Tool (SWAT). The modeling was done at the scale of the 2101 8-digit USGS hydrologic unit areas (HUA). Results are aggregated to the 4-digit and 2-digit (Major Water Resource Region, MWRR) scales for various purposes. Daily records of temperature and precipitation for 1961-1990 provided the baseline climate. Water yields (WY)--sum of surface and subsurface runoff--increases from the baseline period over most of the U.S. in 2030 and 2095. In 2030, WY increases in the western US and decreases in the central and southeast regions. Notably, WY increases by 139 mm from baseline in the Pacific NW. Decreased WY is projected for the Lower Mississippi and Texas Gulf basins, driven by higher temperatures and reduced precipitation. The HadCM2 2095 scenario projects a climate significantly wetter than baseline, resulting in WY increases of 38%. WY increases are projected throughout the eastern U.S. WY also increases in the western U.S. Climate change also affects the seasonality of the hydrologic cycle. Early snowmelt is induced in western basins, leading to dramatically increased WYs in late winter and early spring. The simulations were run at current (365 ppm) and elevated (560 ppm) atmospheric CO2 concentrations to account for the potential impacts of the CO2-fertilization effect. The effects of climate change scenario were considerably greater than those due to elevated CO2 but the latter, overall, decreased losses and augmented increases in water yield.