Dr. Li Jin – Professor SUNY Cortland
Title: Applications of INtegrated CAtchment (INCA) models to simulate flow and water quality under changes in future climate and socioeconomics
Many small to large river systems around the globe are subject to some kind of water pollution issues e.g. excessive nutrients, increased sediment delivery or elevated salinity. Changes in climate, land use and socioeconomics put additional stressors to these freshwater systems and there is a need to assess how they will respond to these changes. The INtegrated CAtchment (INCA) model is a dynamic daily simulation model that predicts flow and water quality. The semi-distributed and multi-branched nature allows it to represent simple to complex river network and to incorporate point and non-point sources of pollution in a catchment.
In this talk, applications of INCA models to the Mekong River basin and Tioughnioga River catchment are presented. First, INCA was used to simulate nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations in the Mekong catchment. The impacts of climate change and a range of socio-economic scenarios on flow and water quality have been assessed across 24 river reaches ranging from the Himalayas down to the delta in Vietnam. Results of INCA simulations indicate increases in mean flows and shift in timing of the monsoon. Changes in nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations were primarily driven by flow changes and changes in fluxes of these nutrients reflect the changing flow, land use change and population changes. Secondly, elevated levels of salinity (Cl) are harmful to sensitive biota, threaten riparian ecosystems, and may affect the portability of drinking waters supplies. This is especially a concern in Northeastern US where anthropogenic practices (deicing) is regularly conducted in the winter. INCA model was used to simulate Cl concentrations in the Tioughnioga River catchment and assess the future impacts of continued deicing practices on freshwater salinization under changes in climate, land use and population. Model projections suggest that Cl concentrations in Tioughnioga River will continue to rise for several decades, before beginning to decline in mid-century. The INCA model projections shed light on how flow and water quality might change into the future and provide valuable knowledge to support planning and strategic decision making.
Li Jin is a Professor in Geology Department at SUNY Cortland. Her main research interests lie in understanding point source and non-point source pollution in river systems and simulating water quantity and quality under climate and land use changes and other environmental changes.