The Effect of Climate Change on Loss of Lake Volume: Case of Sedimentation in Central Rift Valley Basin, Ethiopia



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Evaluating the impact of climate change on sediment yield has become one of the major topics in climate research. The purpose of this study was to investigate sediment yield contribution to lake volume change under changing climatic conditions in the Central Rift Valley Basin. The ensemble mean of five regional climate models (RCMs) in the coordinated regional climate downscaling experiment (CORDEX)-Africa was considered for the purpose of this study. The climate variables (precipitation, minimum and maximum temperatures) in RCMs were bias corrected against observed data (1985–2016) using linear scaling (LS), power transformation (PT), variance of scaling (VS), and quantile mapping (QM). Two emission scenarios, the Representative Concentration Pathways, RCP4.5 and RCP8.5, were considered for the future scenario period (2041–2070). Better results were obtained when the ensemble values of the bias correction methods were used. Hence, the projected values of climate variables after bias correction were used in the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) hydrological model to estimate the sediment yield contribution to lake volume change due to climate change. The results show that the average projected precipitation will decrease by 7.97% and 2.55% under RCP4.5 and RCP8.5, respectively. On average, the maximum temperature will increase by 1.73 °C and 2.36 °C under RCP4.5 and RCP8.5, respectively, while the minimum temperature will increase by 2.16 °C and 3.07 °C under RCP4.5 and RCP8.5, respectively. The average annual sediment yield contributions to Lake Ziway were 431.05 ton/km2 and 322.82 ton/km2 for the Meki and Ketar rivers, respectively, in the historical period (1985–2010). The study also reveals that the annual sediment yield that was estimated for the Meki River was 323 ton/km2 and 382 ton/km2 under RCP4.5 and under RCP8.5, respectively. The sediment estimations for the Ketar River were 157 ton/km2 and 211 ton/km2 under RCP4.5 under RCP8.5, respectively. This will decrease the rate of volume change in Lake Ziway by 38% under RCP4.5 and by 23% under RCP8.5. The results show that the life expectancy of the lake is likely to increase under climate change scenarios. This will help water resources managers make informed decisions regarding the planning, management, and mitigation of the river basins.