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Assessing the impacts of climate change on river flows in England using the UKCP09 climate change projections

Charlton, M. B. and Arnell, N. W. (2014) Assessing the impacts of climate change on river flows in England using the UKCP09 climate change projections. Journal of Hydrology, 519. pp. 1723-1738. ISSN 0022-1694

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2014.09.008


This paper presents an assessment of the effects of climate change on river flow regimes in representative English catchments, using the UKCP09 climate projections. These comprise a set of 10,000 coherent climate scenarios, used here (i) to evaluate the distribution of potential changes in hydrological behaviour and (ii) to construct relationships between indicators of climate change and hydrological change. The study uses six catchments, and focuses on change in average flow, high flow (Q5) and low flow (Q95). There is a large range in hydrological change in each catchment between the plausible UKCP09 climate projections, with differences between catchments largely due to differences in catchment geology and baseline water balance. The range in change between the UKCP09 projections is in most catchments smaller than the range between changes with scenarios based on the CMIP3 ensemble of climate models, and earlier UK scenarios produce changes that tend towards the lower (drier) end of the UKCP09 range. The difference between emissions scenarios is small compared to the range across the 10,000 scenarios. Changes in high flows are largely driven by changes in winter precipitation, whilst changes in low flows are determined by changes in summer precipitation and temperature.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Interdisciplinary Research Centres (IDRCs) > Walker Institute
Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:37835

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