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Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2019-359
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2019-359
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 04 Dec 2019

Submitted as: research article | 04 Dec 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences (NHESS).

Hydrological impacts of climate change on small ungauged catchments-results from a GCM-RCM-hydrologic model chain

Aynalem T. Tsegaw1, Marie Pontoppidan2, Erle Kristvik1, Knut Alfredsen1, and Tone M. Muthanna1 Aynalem T. Tsegaw et al.
  • 1Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), S. P. Andersensvei 5, N-7491, Trondheim, Norway
  • 2NORCE Norwegian Research Centre, Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, Bergen, Norway

Abstract. Climate change is one of the greatest threats to the World's environment. In Norway, the change will strongly affect the pattern, frequency and magnitudes of stream flows. However, it is highly challenging to quantify to what extent it will affect flow patterns and floods from small ungauged rural catchments due to unavailability or inadequacy of hydro-meteorological data for the calibration of hydrological models and tailoring methods to a small-scale level. To provide meaningful climate impact studies at small catchments, it is therefore beneficial to use high spatial and temporal resolution climate projections as input to a high-resolution hydrological model. Here we use such a model chain to assess the impacts of climate change on flow patterns and frequency of floods in small ungauged rural catchments in western Norway using a new high-resolution regional climate projection, with improved performance with regards to the precipitation distribution, and the regionalized hydrological model (Distance Distribution Dynamics) between the reference period (1981–2011) and a future period (2071–2100). The FDCs of all study catchments show there will be more wetter periods in the future than the reference period. The results also show that in the future period, the mean annual flow increases by 16.5 % to 33.3 %, and there will be an increase in the mean autumn, mean winter and mean spring flows ranging from 4.3 % to 256.3 %. The mean summer flow decreases by 7.2 % to 35.2 %. The mean annual maximum floods increase by 28.9 % to 38.3 %, and floods of 2 to 200 years return periods increase by 16.1 % to 42.7 %. The findings of this study could be of practical use to regional decision-makers if considered alongside other previous and future findings.

Aynalem T. Tsegaw et al.
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Aynalem T. Tsegaw et al.
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Short summary
Hydrological impacts of climate change are generally performed by following a steps from global to regional climate modelling through data tailoring and hydrological modelling. Usually, the climate-hydrology chain primary focuses on medium to large sized catchments. To study impacts of climate change on small catchments, a high-resolution regional climate model and hydrological model are required. The results from high resolution models help in proposing specific adaptation strategies on impacts.
Hydrological impacts of climate change are generally performed by following a steps from global...
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