University of Oulu

Torabi Haghighi, A., Darabi, H., Shahedi, K. et al. A Scenario-Based Approach for Assessing the Hydrological Impacts of Land Use and Climate Change in the Marboreh Watershed, Iran. Environ Model Assess 25, 41–57 (2020).

A scenario-based approach for assessing the hydrological impacts of land use and climate change in the Marboreh watershed, Iran

Saved in:
Author: Torabi Haghighi, Ali1; Darabi, Hamid1,2; Shahedi, Kaka2;
Organizations: 1Water, Energy and Environmental Engineering Research Unit, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Sari Agriculture Science and Natural Resources University, Sari, Iran
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2.4 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2020
Publish Date: 2019-12-02


In separate analyses of the impacts of land use change and climate change, a scenario-based approach using remote sensing and hydro-climatological data was developed to assess changes in hydrological indices. The data comprised three Landsat TM images (1988, 1998, 2008) and meteorological and hydrological data (1983–2012) for the Aligudarz and Doroud stations in the Marboreh watershed, Iran. The QUAC module and supervised classification maximum likelihood (ML) algorithm in ENVI 5.1 were used for remote sensing, the SWAT model for hydrological modelling and the Mann-Kendall and t test methods for statistical analysis. To create scenarios, the study period was divided into three decades (1983–1992, 1993–2002, 2003–2012) with clearly different land use/land cover (LULC). After hydrological modelling, 10 hydrological indices related to high and low flow indices (HDI and LDI) were analysed for seven scenarios developed by combining pre-defined climate periods and LULC maps. The major changes in land use were degradation of natural rangeland (−18.49%) and increasing raid-fed farm area (+16.70%) and residential area (+0.80%). The Mann-Kendall test results showed a statistically significant (p < 0.05) decreasing trend in rainfall and flow during 1983–2012. In the scenarios evaluated, hydrological index trends were more sensitive to climate change than to LULC changes in the study area. Low flow indices were more affected than high flow indices in both land use and climate change scenarios. The results show little impact of land use change and indicate that climate change is the main driver of hydrological variations in the catchment. This is useful information in outlining future strategies for sustainable water resources management and policy decision-making in the Marboreh watershed.

see all

Series: Environmental modeling & assessment
ISSN: 1420-2026
ISSN-E: 1573-2967
ISSN-L: 1420-2026
Volume: 25
Issue: 1
Pages: 41 - 57
DOI: 10.1007/s10666-019-09665-x
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1171 Geosciences
Funding: Open access funding provided by University of Oulu including Oulu University Hospital.
Copyright information: © The Author(s) 2019. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.