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Teleconnection, Modeling, Climate Anomalies Impact and Forecasting of Rainfall and Streamflow of the Upper Blue Nile River Basin Open Access


Other title
Upper Blue Nile River Basin
Artificial Neural Network- Genetic Algorithms
Global Oceanic Sea Surface Temperature
Hydrologic modeling
Sacramento Model
Water Resources Management
Interaction Soil Biosphere Atmosphere model
Climate Variability
Irrigation Improvement Project
Climate Anomalies
Seasonal Precipitation
Rainfall Variability
Wavelet Empirical Orthogonal Function
Indian Ocean Dipole
Nile River
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Elsanabary, Mohamed Helmy Mahmoud Moustafa
Supervisor and department
Thian Yew Gan (Departement of Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Paul Myers (Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)
Mohamed Al-Hussein (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Examining committee member and department
Thian Yew Gan (Departement of Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Evan Davies (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Marwan El-Rich (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Paul Myers (Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)
Yang Liu (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
D. J. (Dave) Sauchyn (Senior Research Scientist (PARC) and Professor of Geography (University of Regina)
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Water Resources Engineering
Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
The Nile River, the primary water resource and the life artery for the downstream countries, Egypt and Sudan, exhibits strong seasonal fluctuations. The Upper Blue Nile basin (UBNB), the most significant tributary of the Nile, contributes more than half of the Nile’s streamflow. Prompted by the lack of knowledge on the nonstationarity of hydro-climatic processes in the Ethiopian Highlands (EH), and the Oceanic Sea Surface Temperature (SST), this thesis employed the nonstationary techniques of Wavelet principal component analysis (WPCA) and coherence analysis to identify the spatial, temporal and frequency variability regimes of these hydro-climatic processes. A fully distributed, physically-based model, which is a modified version of the Interactions Soil-Biosphere-Atmosphere (MISBA), and a lumped- conceptual SAC-SMA model, was used to model the UBNB streamflow. To study the potential effect of climate anomalies on the UBNB, years of rainfall/temperature data, when climate anomalies are active, were re-sampled and used to drive MISBA and SAC-SMA. An artificial neural network calibrated by a genetic algorithm (ANN-GA) model, is developed to forecast the seasonal rainfall of UBNB through teleconnection with selected sectors of SST. Results show that seasonal rainfall predicted by ANN-GA agrees well with the observed rainfall data of UBNB. The Valencia and Schaake model was used to disaggregate the forecasted seasonal rainfall to weekly rainfall, which was found to reasonably capture the UBNB observed weekly rainfall characteristics. ANN-GA was developed to directly forecast the UBNB seasonal streamflow from seasonal oceanic SST and then disaggregated to weekly streamflow. To improve the streamflow forecast, we combined the forecasted seasonal rainfall, in addition to the SST predictors. Results indicate that forecasts based on climate indices alone possess considerable skill (correlation of 0.66) with up to four months lead time, while combining the rainfall and SST as predictors provides better results (correlation of 0.83). The analysis of nonstationary energy helped to determine the effects of global oceanic anomalies on the rainfall/streamflow of the UBNB. Knowledge on these effects on UBNB will be useful to the planning and water resources management of the Nile River, especially under the impact of both climate variability and impending droughts.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
Citation for previous publication
Elsanabary, M. H. and Gan, T. Y. (2012). "Investigation of Seasonal Rainfall Variability Over the Ethiopian Highlands: Teleconnection Between the Upper Blue Nile Basin Rainfall and the Oceanic Anomalies", Proc. Conf. 2012 CSCE Annual General Conference, June 6-9, 2012, Edmonton, AB, CA.

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