LAND USE, MICROCLIMATE, AND SURFACE RUNOFF LINKAGES: SPACE-TIME MODELING FROM ROKEL-SELI RIVER BASIN, SIERRA LEONE
This study mainly utilized the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) together with SWAT-CUP, both free and open source software (FOSS), to construct a distributed hydrologic flow model for the Rokel-Seli River basin, Sierra Leone, in a bid to spatiotemporally evaluate the role of changes in land use/land cover (LULC) and microclimate on streamflow regimes. The model was informed by LULC data derived from three Landsat satellite images collected in 2002, 2010, and 2016. The LULC data was generated with the aid of several python libraries accessed through the FOSS Anaconda Navigator. LULC change analysis demonstrated that between 2002 and 2016, urban, agricultural, water, and mining lands expanded significantly but forest cover reduced the most (−5.7 %). While average annual surface runoff dramatically increased from 2002 to 2010 (31.7 %), the period after the reservoir construction (2010–2016) recorded lower increase in surface runoff (0.9 %). Result of the study suggested that the construction of a major reservoir to support hydroelectricity in concert with significant loss of forest cover and shrub played a greater role in increasing surface runoff compared with the influence of microclimate.