Soil erosion due to rainfall detachment and flow entrainment of soil particles is a physical process responsiblefor a continuous evolution of landscapes. The rate and spatial distribution of this phenomenon depend on severalfactors such as climate, hydrologic regime, geomorphic characteristics, and vegetation of a basin. Many studieshave demonstrated that climate-erosion linkage in particular influences basin sediment yield and landscape morphology.Although soil erosion rates are expected to change in response to climate, these changes can be highlynon-linear and thus require mechanistic understanding of underlying causes. In this study, an integrated geomorphiccomponent of the physically-based, spatially distributed hydrological model, tRIBS, the TIN-based Real-timeIntegrated Basin Simulator, is used to analyze the sensitivity of semi-arid headwater basins to climate change.Downscaled outputs of global circulation models are used to inform a stochastic weather generator that producesan ensemble of climate scenarios for an area in the Southwest U.S. The ensemble is used as input to the integratedmodel that is applied to different headwater basins of the Walnut Gulch Experimental Watershed to understandbasin response to climate change in terms of runoff and sediment yield. Through a model application to multiplecatchments, a scaling relationship between specific sediment yield and drainage basin area is also addressed andprobabilistic inferences on future changes in catchment runoff and yield are drawn. Geomorphological differencesamong catchments do not influence specific changes in runoff and sediment transport that are mostly determined byprecipitation changes. Despite a large uncertainty dictated by climate change projections and stochastic variability,sediment transport is predicted to decrease despite a non-negligible possibility of larger runoff rates.
|Numero di pagine||0|
|Stato di pubblicazione||Published - 2013|