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Projected changes in temperature due to global climate change may have serious impacts on hydrologic processes, water resources availability, irrigation water demand, and thereby affecting the agricultural production and productivity. Therefore, understanding the impacts of climate change on crop production and water resources is of utmost importance for developing possible adaptation strategies. The White Oak Bayou, one of the several waterways that give Houston, Texas, United States its popular nickname "The Bayou City" was selected in this case study.
SWAT model is process based and can simulate the hydrological cycle, crop yield, soil erosion and nutrient transport. It is operated with an interface in ArcView GIS using raster or vector datasets including the digital elevation model (DEM), soil properties, vegetation, LULC, and meteorological observations observed which were derived from the Consortium for Geospatial Information, National Cooperative Soil Survey, National Land Cover Database 2006, NCEP Climate Forecast System Reanalysis and USGS website in 2005-2008. The climate change scenario was based on the projected increase in temperature by the IPCC by 2100.
This case study showed a decrease in streamflow from observed actual scenario (2005-2008) to projected increase of 4°C temperature in future climate change scenario by 2100. The evapotranspiration increased but there was a decrease in surface runoff and percolation.
Moreover, there were greater average plant biomass and more average plant yields. Hence, the nitrogen and phosphorus uptake and removed in yield increased. Thus, the total nitrogen decreased while the total phosphorus is zero indicating loss of the Phosphorus content in the soil. Yet, this case study needs to be validated and calibrated with actual data to support the projected outcome.