Water Science and Engineering 2020, 13(4) 265-274 DOI:   https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wse.2020.05.001  ISSN: 1674-2370 CN: 32-1785/TV

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Climate change
River flow
Drought index
Standardized precipitation-evapotranspiration index

Comparative evaluation of impacts of climate change and droughts on   river flow vulnerability in Iran

Zahra Noorisameleh a, b, Shahriar Khaledi a, *, Alireza Shakiba a, Parviz Zeaiean Firouzabadi c, William A. Gough b, M. Monirul Qader Mirza b

a Faculty of Earth Sciences, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran 1983969411, Iran
b Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences, University of Toronto Scarborough, Toronto M1C 1A4, Canada
c Faculty of Geographical Sciences, Kharazmi University, Tehran 15719-14911, Iran


Rivers in arid and semi-arid regions are threatened by droughts and climate change. This study focused on a comparative evaluation of the impacts of climate change and droughts on the vulnerability of river flows in three basins with diverse climates in Iran. The standardized precipitation-evapotranspiration index (SPEI) and precipitation effectiveness variables (PEVs) extracted from the conjunctive precipitation effectiveness index (CPEI) were used to analyze the drought severity. To investigate hydrological droughts in the basins, the normalized difference surface water index (NDSWI) and the streamflow drought index (SDI) were calculated and compared. The effects of droughts were assessed under various representative concentration pathway (RCP) scenarios. Changes in the number of wet days and precipitation depth restricted hydrological droughts, whereas an increasing number of dry days amplified their severity. The projected increases in dry days and precipitation over short durations throughout a year under future climate scenarios would produce changes in drought and flood periods and ultimately impact the frequency and severity of hydrological droughts. Under RCP 4.5, an increase in the frequencies of moderate and severe meteorological/hydrological droughts would further affect the Central Desert Basin. Under RCPs 2.6 and 8.5, the frequencies of severe and extreme droughts would increase, but the drought area would be smaller than that under RCP 4.5, demonstrating less severe drought conditions. Due to the shallow depths of most rivers, SDI was found to be more feasible than NDSWI in detecting hydrological droughts.

Keywords Climate change   River flow   Precipitation   Drought index   Standardized precipitation-evapotranspiration index   Iran   
Received 2019-12-28 Revised 2020-05-30 Online: 2020-12-30 
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wse.2020.05.001
Corresponding Authors: Shahriar Khaledi
Email: s-khaledi@sbu.ac.ir
About author:


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