Projected impact of climate change on hydrological regimes in the Philippines

Tolentino, Pamela Louise M.; Poortinga, Ate; Kanamaru, Hideki; Keesstra, Saskia; Maroulis, Jerry; David, Carlos Primo C.; Ritsema, Coen J.


The Philippines is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to the potential impacts of climate change. To fully understand these potential impacts, especially on future hydrological regimes and water resources (2010-2050), 24 river basins located in the major agricultural provinces throughout the Philippines were assessed. Calibrated using existing historical interpolated climate data, the STREAM model was used to assess future river flows derived from three global climate models (BCM2, CNCM3 and MPEH5) under two plausible scenarios (A1B and A2) and then compared with baseline scenarios (20th century). Results predict a general increase in water availability for most parts of the country. For the A1B scenario, CNCM3 and MPEH5 models predict an overall increase in river flows and river flow variability for most basins, with higher flow magnitudes and flow variability, while an increase in peak flow return periods is predicted for the middle and southern parts of the country during the wet season. However, in the north, the prognosis is for an increase in peak flow return periods for both wet and dry seasons. These findings suggest a general increase in water availability for agriculture, however, there is also the increased threat of flooding and enhanced soil erosion throughout the country.