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Water Science & Technology Vol 56 No 8 pp 49–56 © IWA Publishing 2007 doi:10.2166/wst.2007.595

Using the Climate Assessment Tool (CAT) in U.S. EPA BASINS integrated modeling system to assess watershed vulnerability to climate change

J.C. Imhoff*, J.L. Kittle**, M.R. Gray***  and T.E. Johnson**** 

*AQUA TERRA Consultants, P.O. Box 323, Ouray, CO 81427 USA (E-mail: jcimhoff@aquaterra.com)
**AQUA TERRA Consultants, 150 E. Ponce de Leon Ave., Suite 355, Decatur, GA 30030 USA (E-mail: jlkittle@aquaterra.com)
***AQUA TERRA Consultants, 150 E. Ponce de Leon Ave., Suite 355, Decatur, GA 30030 USA (E-mail: markgray@aquaterra.com)
****U.S. EPA Global Change Research Program, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW , Washington, DC 20460 USA (E-mail: johnson.thomas@epa.gov)


During the last century, much of the United States experienced warming temperatures and changes in amount and intensity of precipitation. Changes in future climate conditions present additional risk to water and watershed managers. The most recent release of U.S. EPA's BASINS watershed modeling system includes a Climate Assessment Tool (CAT) that provides new capabilities for assessing impacts of climate change on water resources. The BASINS CAT provides users with the ability to modify historical climate and conduct systematic sensitivity analyses of specific hydrologic and water quality endpoints to changes in climate using the BASINS models (Hydrologic Simulation Program – FORTRAN (HSPF)). These capabilities are well suited for addressing questions about the potential impacts of climate change on key hydrologic and water quality goals using the watershed scale at which most important planning decisions are made.

This paper discusses the concepts that motivated the CAT development effort; the resulting capabilities incorporated into BASINS CAT; and the opportunities that result from integrating climate assessment capabilities into a comprehensive watershed water quality modeling system.

Keywords: BASINS CAT; climate assessment; climate impact; HSPF; integrated watershed modeling

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