3 years ago

Partitioning uncertainty in streamflow projections under nonstationary model conditions

Assessing the impacts of Land Use (LU) and climate change on future streamflow projections is necessary for efficient management of water resources. However, model projections are burdened with significant uncertainty arising from various sources. Most of the previous studies have considered climate models and scenarios as major sources of uncertainty, but uncertainties introduced by land use change and hydrologic model assumptions are rarely investigated. In this paper an attempt is made to segregate the contribution from (i) general circulation models (GCMs), (ii) emission scenarios, (iii) land use scenarios, (iv) stationarity assumption of the hydrologic model, and (v) internal variability of the processes, to overall uncertainty in streamflow projections using analysis of variance (ANOVA) approach. Generally, most of the impact assessment studies are carried out with unchanging hydrologic model parameters in future. It is, however, necessary to address the nonstationarity in model parameters with changing land use and climate. In this paper, a regression based methodology is presented to obtain the hydrologic model parameters with changing land use and climate scenarios in future. The Upper Ganga Basin (UGB) in India is used as a case study to demonstrate the methodology. The semi-distributed Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) model is set-up over the basin, under nonstationary conditions. Results indicate that model parameters vary with time, thereby invalidating the often-used assumption of model stationarity. The streamflow in UGB under the nonstationary model condition is found to reduce in future. The flows are also found to be sensitive to changes in land use. Segregation results suggest that model stationarity assumption and GCMs along with their interactions with emission scenarios, act as dominant sources of uncertainty. This paper provides a generalized framework for hydrologists to examine stationarity assumption of models before considering them for future streamflow projections and segregate the contribution of various sources to the uncertainty.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0309170817300179

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