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The University of Southampton
Geography and Environmental Science

Research project: Effect of Climate and Land Use Change on River Hydrology of Thai

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Statistical analysis of meteorological and river-discharge time-series data can reveal the effect of land change use on rainfall run-off.

A misty morning in the rainforest

This project aims to better understand the rainfall-run-off processes within Thailand and to discover how these may be modified by climatic and land-use changes this century. Also, to promote international collaboration such that innovative methods and skills can be applied to develop sustainable use of Thailand's water resources.

The project is part of a British Council Higher Education LINK scheme with partners from Lancaster University, the Royal Irrigation Department (RID) and Kasetsart University (Thailand). Staff visits and exchanges are a key component of the LINK.

During the last two decades the world has faced an apparent increase in the frequency and severity of drought and flood. Water resources will be a key issue this century in southeast Asia and Thailand is no exception. In Thailand, rapid land use change within the last 40 years may be responsible for inducing change in the water balance or masking climatic signals. Within the LINK, new statistical methods are being developed to study and forecast trends in rainfall and runoff. The software will be transferred to the RID to aid in water resources prediction and planning.

The LINK project is using data-based mechanistic (DBM) modelling of time-series of 20 years of rainfall and discharge data for a number of key catchments. The aim is to objectively identify annual cycle, seasonality, trend, extreme events, and to forecast future rainfall and discharge.

Future work will include the analysis of older records and to consider the influence of land use change. The rapid land use change can be quantified directly using historical air photographs and remote sensing methods or indirectly by analysing changes in the suspended sediment loads of rivers within catchments that were previously dominated by virgin forest. Within the Mae Chaem catchment of nothwest Thailand, sedimentological studies of ancient river sediment deposits, coupled with flood level modelling, will be used to extend the flood record back in time beyond the date of the first gauge record in 1954.

Related research groups

Earth Surface Dynamics
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