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Evaluation of different downscaling techniques for hydrological climate-change impact studies at the catchment scale
Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, Stockholm University, 10691 Stockholm, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3344-2468
Department of Geography, King’s College London, Strand, London, WC2R2LS, UK ; Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute, 60176 Norrköping, Sweden.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, LUVAL.
2011 (English)In: Climate Dynamics, ISSN 0930-7575, E-ISSN 1432-0894, Vol. 37, no 9-10, 2087-2105 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Hydrological modeling for climate-change impact assessment implies using meteorological variables simulated by global climate models (GCMs). Due to mismatching scales, coarse-resolution GCM output cannot be used directly for hydrological impact studies but rather needs to be downscaled. In this study, we investigated the variability of seasonal streamflow and flood-peak projections caused by the use of three statistical approaches to downscale precipitation from two GCMs for a meso-scale catchment in southeastern Sweden: (1) an analog method (AM), (2) a multi-objective fuzzy-rule-based classification (MOFRBC) and (3) the Statistical DownScaling Model (SDSM). The obtained higher-resolution precipitation values were then used to simulate daily streamflow for a control period (1961-1990) and for two future emission scenarios (2071-2100) with the precipitation-streamflow model HBV. The choice of downscaled precipitation time series had a major impact on the streamflow simulations, which was directly related to the ability of the downscaling approaches to reproduce observed precipitation. Although SDSM was considered to be most suitable for downscaling precipitation in the studied river basin, we highlighted the importance of an ensemble approach. The climate and streamflow change signals indicated that the current flow regime with a snowmelt-driven spring flood in April will likely change to a flow regime that is rather dominated by large winter streamflows. Spring flood events are expected to decrease considerably and occur earlier, whereas autumn flood peaks are projected to increase slightly. The simulations demonstrated that projections of future streamflow regimes are highly variable and can even partly point towards different directions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 37, no 9-10, 2087-2105 p.
Keyword [en]
GCM, Statistical downscaling, Hydrological impact modeling, Precipitation, Temperature, Streamflow, HBV, Climate change, Sweden
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-161922DOI: 10.1007/s00382-010-0979-8ISI: 000296476600023OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-161922DiVA: diva2:458636
Formas, 2007-1433
Available from: 2011-11-23 Created: 2011-11-21 Last updated: 2013-12-03

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