Magnitude and robustness associated with the climate change impacts on global hydrological variables for transient and stabilized climate states

Julien B, Naota H, Veldkamp T, Jacob S, & Hideo S (2018). Magnitude and robustness associated with the climate change impacts on global hydrological variables for transient and stabilized climate states. Environmental Research Letters 13 (6): e064017. DOI:10.1088/1748-9326/aac179.

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Abstract

Recent studies have assessed the impacts of climate change at specific global temperature targets using relatively short (30 year ) transient time-slice periods which are characterized by a steady increase in global mean temperature with time. The Inter-Sectoral Impacts Model Intercomparison Project Phase 2b (ISIMIP2b) provides trend-preserving bias-corrected climate model datasets over six centuries for four global climate models (GCMs) which therefore can be used to evaluate the potential effects of using time-slice periods from stabilized climate state rather than time-slice periods from transient climate state on climate change impacts.

Using the H08 global hydrological model, the impacts of climate change, quantified as the deviation from the pre-industrial era, and the signal-to-noise (SN) ratios were computed for five hydrological variables, namely evapotranspiration (EVA), precipitation (PCP), snow water equivalent (SNW), surface temperature (TAR), and total discharge (TOQ) over 20 regions comprising the global land area.

A significant difference in EVA for the transient and stabilized climate states was systematically detected for all four GCMs. In addition, three out of the four GCMs indicated that significant differences in PCP, TAR, and TOQ for the transient and stabilized climate states could also be detected over a small fraction of the globe. For most regions, the impacts of climate change toward EVA, PCP, and TOQ are indicated to be underestimated using the transient climate state simulations. The transient climate state was also identified to underestimate the SN ratios compared to the stabilized climate state. For both the global and regional scales, however, there was no indication that surface areas associated with the different classes of SN ratios changed depending on the two climate states (t-test, p > 0.01).

Transient time slices may be considered a good approximation of the stabilized climate state, for large-scale hydrological studies and many regions and variables, as: (1) impacts of climate change were only significantly different from those of the stabilized climate state for a small fraction of the globe, and (2) these differences were not indicated to alter the robustness of the impacts of climate change.

Item Type: Article
Research Programs: Water (WAT)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 03 Aug 2018 06:18
Last Modified: 27 Nov 2018 15:30
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/15401

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