Tropical mountain regions contain the main headwaters of important rivers in Central America. We selected 2 contrasting catchments located in a mountainous region to evaluate the precision of daily flow estimates based on the Hydrological Land Use Change (HYLUC) and Nedbør-Afstrømnings Model (NAM) hydrological models. A second objective was to simulate the impact of expected climate change for the year 2050 on stream flows and seasonal distribution of rainfall. We studied the catchments of the Tempisquito and Cucaracho streams, located in the Guanacaste volcanic mountain range of Costa Rica, from April 2008 to October 2010. Modeling of discharge using the NAM and HYLUC models suggested difficulties in their calibration due to intrinsic catchment characteristics because of their volcanic origin. The climate change scenario applied in both catchments depicted a strong reduction in discharge. However, the Cucaracho catchment, on the Caribbean slope, is predicted to experience a smaller reduction in discharge than the Tempisquito catchment, located on the Pacific slope.
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