3 years ago

Use of a scenario-neutral approach to identify the key hydro-meteorological attributes that impact runoff from a natural catchment

Scenario-neutral approaches are being used increasingly for assessing the potential impact of climate change on water resource systems, as these approaches allow the performance of these systems to be evaluated independently of climate change projections. However, practical implementations of these approaches are still scarce, with a key limitation being the difficulty of generating a range of plausible future time series of hydro-meteorological data. In this study we apply a recently developed inverse stochastic generation approach to support the scenario-neutral analysis, and thus identify the key hydro-meteorological variables to which the system is most sensitive. The stochastic generator simulates synthetic hydro-meteorological time series that represent plausible future changes in (1) the average, extremes and seasonal patterns of rainfall; and (2) the average values of temperature (Ta ), relative humidity (RH) and wind speed (uz ) as variables that drive PET. These hydro-meteorological time series are then fed through a conceptual rainfall-runoff model to simulate the potential changes in runoff as a function of changes in the hydro-meteorological variables, and runoff sensitivity is assessed with both correlation and Sobol’ sensitivity analyses. The method was applied to a case study catchment in South Australia, and the results showed that the most important hydro-meteorological attributes for runoff were winter rainfall followed by the annual average rainfall, while the PET-related meteorological variables had comparatively little impact. The high importance of winter rainfall can be related to the winter-dominated nature of both the rainfall and runoff regimes in this catchment. The approach illustrated in this study can greatly enhance our understanding of the key hydro-meteorological attributes and processes that are likely to drive catchment runoff under a changing climate, thus enabling the design of tailored climate impact assessments to specific water resource systems.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S002216941730625X

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