Impact of climate change on runoff in the Gilgel Abbay watershed, the upper Blue Nile Basin, Ethiopia

Hailu Sheferaw Ayele, Ming Hsu Li, Ching Pin Tung, Tzu Ming Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Hydrological assessment is critical to the successful implementation of adaption measures. In this study, projections of seven global circulation models (GCMs) associated with high and medium-low Representative Concentration Pathways (RCP 8.5 and RCP 4.5) for the period 2021-2040 and 2081-2100 were adopted to assess changes on runoffs in the Gilgel Abbay watershed, the upper Blue Nile basin. A weather generator was employed to generate daily temperature and precipitation to drive a hydrological model for impact assessment. Despite the projected magnitude of changes varied among different GCMs and RCPs, increasing runoffs in wet-season and decreasing in dry-season are observed in both periods, mainly attributed to the change in projected precipitation. Such changes are profound in cases of RCP 8.5 with respect to those of RCP 4.5 and in cases of 2081-2100 with respect to those of 2021-2040. Although the increasing runoffs would provide greater inflow to Lake Tana, the increase of precipitation in wet-season would imply a higher possibility of flash floods. On the other hand, decrease runoffs in dry-season further intensify existing shortage of irrigation water demand. These changes will have deleterious consequences on the economic wellbeing of the country and require successful implementation of adaption measures to reduce vulnerability.

Original languageEnglish
Article number380
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Issue number9
StatePublished - 3 Sep 2016


  • Climate change
  • Gilgel Abbay watershed
  • Precipitation
  • RCPs
  • Runoff


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