AbstractProjected climate change effects on hydrology are investigated for the 2041–60 horizon under the A2 emission scenarios using a multimodel approach over two snowmelt-dominated catchments in Canada. An ensemble of 105 members was obtained by combining seven snow models (SMs), five potential evapotranspiration (PET) methods, and three hydrological model (HM) structures. The study was performed using high-resolution simulations from the Canadian Regional Climate Model (CRCM–15 km) driven by two members of the third-generation Canadian Coupled Global Climate Model (CGCM3). This study aims to compare various combinations of SM–PET–HM in terms of their ability to simulate streamflows under the current climate and to evaluate how they affect the assessment of the climate change–induced hydrological impacts at the catchment scale. The variability of streamflow response caused by the use of different SMs (degree-day versus degree-day/energy balance), PET methods (temperature-based versus radiation-based methods), and HM structures is evaluated, as well as the uncertainty due to the natural climate variability (CRCM intermember variability). The hydroclimatic simulations cover 1961–90 in the present period and 2041–60 in the future period. The ensemble spread of the climate change signal on streamflow is large and varies with catchments. Using the variance decomposition on three hydrologic indicators, the HM structure was found to make the most substantial contribution to uncertainty, followed by the choice of the PET methods or natural climate variability, depending on the hydrologic indicator and the catchment. Snow models played a minor, almost negligible role in the assessment of the climate change impacts on streamflow for the study catchments.
Journal of Hydrometeorology – American Meteorological Society
Published: Jan 5, 2018
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