Sensitivity of surface runoffto drought and climate change: Application for shared river basins

Furat A.M. Al-Faraj, Miklas Scholz, Dimitris Tigkas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


This study quantifies the sensitivity of surface runoffto drought and climate change in the Diyala watershed shared between Iraq and Iran. This was achieved through a combined use of a wide range of changes in the amount of precipitation (a decline between 0% and -40%) and in the potential evapotranspiration rate (an increase between 0% and +30%). The Medbasin-monthly rainfall-runoffmodel (Medbasin-M) was used for runoffsimulation. The model was calibrated for twelve hydrologic years (1962-1973), and the simulation results were validated with the observed annual runofffor nine water years (1974-1982). For the calibration period, the correlation coefficient (r), the root mean squared error (RMSE), the mean absolute error (MAE) and the index of agreement (IoA) were 0.893, 2.117, 1.733 and 0.852, respectively. The corresponding values for validation were 0.762, 1.250, 1.093 and 0.863, in this order. The Reconnaissance Drought Index (RDI) and the Streamflow Drought Index (SDI) were analysed using DrinC software. Three nomographs were introduced to quantify the projected reductions in the annual runoffand the anticipated RDI and SDI values, respectively. The proposed methodology offers a simple, powerful and generic approach for predicting the rate of change (%) in annual runoffunder climate change scenarios.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3033-3048
Number of pages16
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Climate alteration
  • Medbasin model
  • Nomograph
  • Reconnaissance drought index
  • River flow
  • Runoffcurve number
  • Soil storage capacity
  • Streamflow drought index
  • Transboundary watershed
  • Water management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology


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