A multi-model ensemble of downscaled spatial climate change scenarios for the Dommel catchment, Western Europe

Michelle T. H. van Vliet, Stephen Blenkinsop, Aidan Burton, Colin Harpham, Hans Peter Broers, Hayley J. Fowler

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14 Citations (Scopus)


Regional or local scale hydrological impact studies require high resolution climate change scenarios which should incorporate some assessment of uncertainties in future climate projections. This paper describes a method used to produce a multi-model ensemble of multivariate weather simulations including spatial-temporal rainfall scenarios and single-site temperature and potential evapotranspiration scenarios for hydrological impact assessment in the Dommel catchment (1,350 km2) in The Netherlands and Belgium. A multi-site stochastic rainfall model combined with a rainfall conditioned weather generator have been used for the first time with the change factor approach to downscale projections of change derived from eight Regional Climate Model (RCM) experiments for the SRES A2 emission scenario for the period 2071-2100. For winter, all downscaled scenarios show an increase in mean daily precipitation (catchment average change of +9% to +40%) and typically an increase in the proportion of wet days, while for summer a decrease in mean daily precipitation (-16% to -57%) and proportion of wet days is projected. The range of projected mean temperature is 7.7°C to 9.1°C for winter and 19.9°C to 23.3°C for summer, relative to means for the control period (1961-1990) of 3.8°C and 16.8°C, respectively. Mean annual potential evapotranspiration is projected to increase by between +17% and +36%. The magnitude and seasonal distribution of changes in the downscaled climate change projections are strongly influenced by the General Circulation Model (GCM) providing boundary conditions for the RCM experiments. Therefore, a multi-model ensemble of climate change scenarios based on different RCMs and GCMs provides more robust estimates of precipitation, temperature and evapotranspiration for hydrological impact assessments, at both regional and local scale.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-277
JournalClimatic Change
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012

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