Climate change impact on river basins in Ukraine 2020

The researchers used six models comparing precipitation and drought based on river levels using RCP 2.6 and RCP 8.5 scenarios. Their predictions show a decrease in water in most of the eight main river basins, particularly between 2040 – 2070. The greatest reductions by the end of the century are predicted for Pripyat, Southern bug and Dniester.

They used European studies based on 2.0 and 1.5 degree temperature changes. Prior to this study, different catchments had been studied and modelled so it was difficult to assess overall water availability. The climate has greater humidity in Western Ukraine and further east has more cyclones and anti-cyclones.

They used the WaterGap2 model to assess water availability. The predicted temperature changes in RCP 2.6 are 2.1 degrees in south east, 2.8 degrees in north, 2.6 in the centre and 2.7/2.8 degrees further west. For RCP 8.5 varying between 3.1, 4.4 and 6.6 degrees higher. Precipitation is approx 10% higher in 2.6 scenario across the region but by the end for the century, it will decrease up to 14% in southern and western areas.

The river levels are predicted to increase during winter in both RCP scenarios, with a combination of earlier snowmelt as well as rainfall. The overall decrease will also affect natural irrigation of crops particularly southern areas.

Didovets I, Kysanova K, Hatterman FF, Rocio Rivas Lopes M, Snizkho S, Uller Schmidt H (2020) Climate Change impact on water availability of river basins in Ukrainian, Journal of Hydrology – Regional Studies, 32:100761, available at https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214581820302354

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