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Citation Schnorbus, M and Cannon, AJ. 2014. Statistical emulation of streamflow projections from a distributed hydrological model: Application to CMIP3 and CMIP5 climate projections for British Columbia, Canada. Water Resources Research 50:8907-8926.
Organization PCIC
URL http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2014WR015279/abstract
Abstract/Description or Keywords A recent hydrological impacts study in British Columbia, Canada, used an ensemble of 23 climate change simulations to assess potential future changes in streamflow. These Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 3 (CMIP3) simulations were statistically downscaled and used to drive the Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) hydrology model over several watersheds. Due to computational restrictions, the 23 member VIC ensemble is a subset of the full 136 member CMIP3 archive. Extending the VIC ensemble to cover the full range of uncertainty represented by CMIP3, and incorporating the latest generation CMIP5 ensembles, poses a considerable computing challenge. Thus, we extend the VIC ensemble using a computationally efficient statistical emulation model, which approximates the combined output of the two-step process of statistical downscaling and hydrologic modeling, trained with the 23 member VIC ensemble. Regularized multiple linear regression links projected changes in monthly temperature and precipitation with projected changes in monthly streamflow over the Fraser and Peace River watersheds. Following validation, the statistical emulator is forced with the full suite of CMIP3 and CMIP5 climate change projections. The 23 member VIC ensemble has a smaller spread than the full ensemble; however, both ensembles provide the same consensus estimate of monthly streamflow change. Qualitatively, CMIP5 shows a similar streamflow response as CMIP3 for snow-dominated hydrologic regimes. However, by end-century, the CMIP5 worst-case RCP8.5 has a larger impact than CMIP3 A2. This work also underscores the advantage of using emulation to rapidly identify those future extreme projections that may merit further study using more computationally demanding process-based methods.
Information Type article
Regional Watershed Lower Fraser
Sub-watershed if known Fraser River
Aquifer #
Project status
Contact Name Markus Schnorbus
Contact Email [email protected]