Case Study Application of the Basins Climate Assessment Tool, and Development of a Framework for Assessing Climate Change Impacts on Water Quality in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed

Much of the U.S. is likely to experience warming temperatures and changes in precipitation amount and/or intensity during the next century. Water resources are highly vulnerable to these changes, with possible effects including increased occurrence of floods and droughts, and water quality degradation. The EPA Global Change Research Program (GCRP) recently supported the development of a Climate Assessment Tool (CAT) for the Office of Water's BASINS water quality modeling system. The BASINS CAT provides users with the ability to modify historical climate, generate synthetic weather time series, and conduct systematic sensitvity analysese of specific hydrologic and water quality end-points to changes in climate using the BASINS models (e.g. HSPF). EPA's Chesapeake Bay Program, in partnership with other government agencies, are working to restore water quality and living resources in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. The potential impacts of climate change on the Bay Watershed are not well understood, but are likely to be significant.