Investigation of the long-term variations in hydro-climatology of the Dinder and Rahad basins and its implications on ecosystems of the Dinder National Park, Sudan

Other literature type English OPEN
Hassaballah, Khalid ; Mohamed, Yasir ; Uhlenbrook, Stefan (2016)

Hydro-climatic variability plays a pivotal role in structuring the biophysical environment of riverine and floodplain ecosystems. Variability is natural, but can also be enhanced by anthropogenic interventions. Alterations of hydro-climatic variables can have significant impacts on the ecohydrological functions of rivers and related ecosystems. Loss of biodiversity and degradation of ecosystems have caused increasing concern about the current situation of the Dinder and Rahad River basins (D&R), particularly the ecosystems of the Dinder National Park (DNP). However the causes are not yet fully understood. Conservation of the DNP ecosystems for direct and indirect human benefit is one of major challenges facing the country. <br><br> This paper examines the long-term variations of streamflow, rainfall and temperature over the D&R and its implications on DNP ecosystems. Statistical tests of Mann&ndash;Kendall (MK) and Pettitt were used. The analysis was carried out for twelve precipitation, one temperature, and two streamflow gauging stations over different time periods. Streamflow characteristics of magnitude, duration, timing, frequency and rate of change in flow that likely impact the ecological functions of the ecosystem of the DNP, were analysed using the Indicators of Hydrologic Alterations (IHA). <br><br> The MK test showed statistically significant increasing trends of temperature. The mean annual and monthly mean precipitation showed no significant change. Streamflow of the Rahad River showed a significant increasing trend in annual and monthly means at Al-Hawata station, while no significant trend in Dinder River flows at Al-Gewisi station could be observed. However, the Dinder river showed significant decreasing trend in maximum annual and monthly mean and maximum flow during August (month of high flow), and increasing trend during November (month of low flow). The IHA analysis indicated that the Rahad River flow was coupled with significant upward alterations in some of the hydrological indicators. In contrast, the Dinder River flow was coupled with significant downward alterations. This alterations in Dinder river flow are likely affect the ecosystems in DNP negatively. Alterations in magnitude and duration of the annual flood peaks that reduce the amount of water flowing to the river-floodplain, may diminish the production of native flora and fauna, and animal migration that may be linked to floodplain inundation.
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