3 years ago

Using raw regional climate model outputs for quantifying climate change impacts on hydrology

Jun Xia, Pan Liu, Jie Chen, François P. Brissette
General Circulation Model (GCM) outputs are rarely used directly for quantifying climate change impacts on hydrology, due to their coarse resolution and inherent bias. Bias correction methods are usually applied to correct the statistical deviations of climate model outputs from the observed data. However, the use of bias correction methods for impact studies is often disputable, due to the lack of physical basis and the bias non-stationarity of climate model outputs. With the improvement in model resolution and reliability, it is now possible to investigate the direct use of Regional Climate Model (RCM) outputs for impact studies. This study proposes an approach to use RCM-simulations directly for quantifying the hydrological impacts of climate change over North America. With this method, a hydrological model (HSAMI) is specifically calibrated using the RCM-simulations at the recent past period. The change in hydrological regimes for a future period (2041–2065) over the reference (1971–1995), simulated using bias-corrected and non-bias-corrected simulations, are compared using mean flow, spring high flow and summer-autumn low flow as indicators. Three RCMs driven by three different GCMs are used to investigate the uncertainty of hydrological simulations associated with the choice of a bias-corrected or non-bias-corrected RCM simulation. The results indicate that the uncertainty envelope is generally watershed- and indicator-dependent. It is difficult to draw a firm conclusion about whether one method is better than the other. In other words, the bias correction method could bring further uncertainty to future hydrological simulations, in addition to uncertainty related to the choice of a bias correction method. This implies that the non-bias-corrected results should be provided to end users along with the bias-corrected ones, along with a detailed explanation of the bias correction procedure. This information would be especially helpful to assist end users in making the most informed decisions.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1002/hyp.11368

You might also like
Never Miss Important Research

Researcher is an app designed by academics, for academics. Create a personalised feed in two minutes.
Choose from over 15,000 academics journals covering ten research areas then let Researcher deliver you papers tailored to your interests each day.

  • Download from Google Play
  • Download from App Store
  • Download from AppInChina

Researcher displays publicly available abstracts and doesn’t host any full article content. If the content is open access, we will direct clicks from the abstracts to the publisher website and display the PDF copy on our platform. Clicks to view the full text will be directed to the publisher website, where only users with subscriptions or access through their institution are able to view the full article.