CR 40:89-102 (2009)  -  DOI:

Simulating streamflow response to climate scenarios in central Canada using a simple statistical downscaling method

Woonsup Choi1,*, Peter F. Rasmussen2, Adam R. Moore2, Sung Joon Kim2

1Department of Geography, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, PO Box 413, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53201, USA
2Department of Civil Engineering, University of Manitoba, 15 Gillson Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3T 5V6, Canada

ABSTRACT: Despite the importance of surface water in Manitoba, Canada, there has been relatively little investigation of the impact of climate change on the hydrology of the province. This study examines streamflow characteristics in northern Manitoba basins (Taylor and Burntwood River basins) under climate scenarios generated by global climate models (GCM) from 2 agencies (the UK Hadley Centre and the Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis). The hydrological model SLURP (Semi-distributed Land Use-based Runoff Processes) was run with perturbed meteorological data based on the GCM simulations under 2 greenhouse gas emission scenarios (A2 and B2) for 2 future periods (2041–2070 and 2071–2099). A method to incorporate the changed variability in future temperature and precipitation to the climate scenarios was also tested. All scenarios project wetter and warmer climates, and simulation results show that the mean annual runoff is likely to increase in every scenario. The largest seasonal increase occurs in late spring and the least in winter and summer. The daily flow exceeded by 80% of the total records is also projected to substantially increase, resulting in much fewer days with extreme low flow compared to the control period. Results indicate that the combination of a hydrological model with simple GCM-based scenarios can produce results comparable to those obtained from regional climate modelling. Explicit incorporation of changed variability in climate scenarios results in higher runoff than consideration of only changes in means.

KEY WORDS: Climate change impact · Runoff · Statistical downscaling · SLURP · Manitoba

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Cite this article as: Choi W, Rasmussen PF, Moore AR, Kim SJ (2009) Simulating streamflow response to climate scenarios in central Canada using a simple statistical downscaling method. Clim Res 40:89-102.

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