Date of Award

Spring 5-10-2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

Program Option

Environmental Sciences


Joseph Essamuah-Quansah, PhD

Co-advisor/Committee Member One

Souleymane Fall, PhD

Committee Member Two

Mudiayi Ngandu, PhD

Committee Member Three

Ramble Ankumah, PhD



Assessment of Climate Variability Impacts on Water Resources within the Alabama River Basin By Adalumo Oluwatomiwa Olubamidele Global climate change and variability alters hydrologic cycles and regimes within watersheds, adversely impacting ecosystems, water resources, agriculture and environmental sustainability. Understanding and predicting the interactions between the water systems, climate change and land use are priority science need and challenge areas. Such assessment through the integration of various climate and hydrologic models will allow for the development of appropriate climate change impact adaptation solutions. This study aims at assessing historical climate variability impacts on water resources within the Alabama River Basin. Specific research objectives include (i) assessing the likely hydrologic responses and environmental impacts of climate variability at the watershed scale; and (ii) quantifying impacts of land use and climate variability on water quantity and quality (iii) identification of the most impacted counties within the Alabama Black Belt Counties and the Environmental variable of concern. The research methodology utilized historical climate data analysis, and the assimilation of geospatial, hydrologic, landuse, soils, elevation, historical climate data variables into the Soil and Water Assessment Tool, which was then calibrated and validated. Model calibration and validation was within acceptable levels for streamflow, sediment and total nitrogen. Model simulation was then analyzed for climate change impacts based on xviii established baseline (1953-1972) and comparison period (1991-2010) environmental conditions. Research findings showed a slight increase in precipitation and no significant increase in temperature within the watershed over the last six decades. While streamflow showed general increase for most subbasins, there was a considerable decrease in the eastern and northern subbasins. There was general a decrease in sediment load in the research basin over the period. Total nitrogen load increases occurred in some central subbasins. Subbasins with high total nitrogen loads also had predominantly agricultural land uses with corn, soybean, cotton and pasture as major crops, for which nutrient management could impact nitrogen nonpoint source pollution. Evapotranspiration trends were sporadic, but highest with subbasins which had decreased streamflow. Incidences of drought as well as the research findings support the argument that climate variability could have an impact on water quality and quantity within the Alabama Black Belt Counties. The study identified critical subbasins for appropriate conservation and adaptation solutions, as well as education to help mitigate climate variability impact, maintain sustainable agriculture, environment and water use.

Included in

Agriculture Commons



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