The 2010 Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load was established for the water quality and ecological restoration of the Chesapeake Bay. In 2017, the latest science, data, and modeling tools were used to develop revised Watershed Implementation Plans (WIPs). In this article, we examine the vulnerability of the Chesapeake Bay watershed to the combined pressures of climate change and growth in population, agricultural intensity, and economic activity for the 60-year period 1995–2055. The results will be used to revise WIPs, as needed, to account for expected increases in loads. Assessing changes relative to 1995 for the years 2025, 2035, 2045, and 2055, mean annual precipitation increases of 3.11%, 4.21%, 5.34%, and 6.91%, respectively, air temperature increases of 1.12, 1.45, 1.84, and 2.12°C, respectively, and potential evapotranspiration increases of 3.36%, 4.43%, 5.54%, and 6.35%, respectively, are projected. Population in the watershed is expected to grow by 3.5 million between 2025 and 2055. Watershed model results show incremental increases in streamflow (2.3%–6.2%), nitrogen (2.6%–10.8%), phosphorus (4.5%–26.7%), and sediment (3.8%–18.8%) loads to the tidal Bay due to climate change. Growth in population, agricultural intensity, development, and economic activity resulted in relatively smaller increases in loads compared to climate change.
|Title||Water quality impacts of climate change, land use, and population growth in the Chesapeake Bay watershed|
|Authors||Gopal Bhatt, Lewis C. Linker, Gary W. Shenk, Isabella Bertani, Richard Tian, Jessica Rigelman, Kyle E. Hinson, Peter Claggett|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Series Title||Journal of the American Water Resources Association|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Lower Mississippi-Gulf Water Science Center; VA/WV Water Science Center|