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An assessment of the vulnerability of Scotland’s river catchments and coasts to the impacts of climate change: Work Package 1 Report

Kay, A.L.; Crooks, S.M.; Davies, H.N.; Reynard, N.S.. 2011 An assessment of the vulnerability of Scotland’s river catchments and coasts to the impacts of climate change: Work Package 1 Report. NERC/Centre for Ecology & Hydrology. (CEH Project Number: C04323) (Unpublished)

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Abstract/Summary

This report, for Work Package 1 of the project ―An assessment of the vulnerability of Scotland’s river catchments and coasts to the impacts of climate change”, presents the potential impacts of climate change on flood flows across Scotland. A previous Defra/EA Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management (FCERM) project — FD2020 “Regionalised impacts of climate change on flood flows” — developed a methodology which enabled the quick estimation of the impact of climatic changes on flood peaks, for catchments across Britain. Its successor project — FD2648 “Practicalities for implementing regionalised allowances for climate change on flood flows” — applied the FD2020 methodology, along with probabilistic projections of climate change from UK Climate Projections 09 (UKCP09), to estimate the probabilistic impacts on peak river flows for regions across England and Wales. These previous projects provide the basis for Work Package 1 of this project, which aims to develop FD2020/FD2648 for catchments in Scotland. This report briefly summarises the FD2020 methodology (Section 1). The method estimates a catchment‘s sensitivity to climatic change, then combines this with information on a specific climatic hazard (set of climate change projections) in order to estimate the risk in terms of the impacts on peak river flows at four return periods (2, 10, 20 and 50 years). The re-formulation of one aspect of the FD2020 method is presented (Section 2). This affects the way in which a catchment‘s sensitivity (‗response type‘) is estimated from its properties, which is re-formulated in order to make it more applicable to Scotland given the greater homogeneity of catchments in Scotland compared to England and Wales. The application of the method to estimate the response type of each National River Flow Archive (NRFA) catchment in Scotland, at each return period, is described, along with use of UKCP09 data to define the climate change hazard, and the combination of sensitivity and hazard to estimate risk (Section 3). The hazard is derived from the UKCP09 projections for the 2020s, 2050s and 2080s time-horizons under the Medium emissions scenario, and under the Low and High emissions scenarios for the 2080s time-horizon, for 10 river-basin regions covering Scotland: North Highland, North-East Scotland, Forth, Tay, Tweed, Solway, Clyde, Argyll, West Highland, and Orkney and Shetland. Results are presented for each river-basin region (Section 4). Maps show the estimated response type of each NRFA catchment in each region, while plots summarise the hazard and the risk in each region. As well as presenting the risk for each response type (‗response-type risk‘), a ‗regional risk‘ is calculated for each region, based on the number of NRFA catchments of each response type in the region. Each type of risk is presented with uncertainty bands. The results are summarised (Section 5), including a comparison of risk between the 10 river-basin regions. This shows that regions to the west of Scotland have a greater risk that those to the east. The river-basin regions with the highest risk, at all return periods, are Argyll and West Highland, followed by Orkney and Shetland, iv Executive summary followed by Clyde. The river-basin region with the lowest risk, at all return periods, is North-East Scotland, followed by Tweed and Tay. Possible uses of the results are discussed, including consideration of uncertainty and applicability (Section 6).

Item Type: Publication - Report (UNSPECIFIED)
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 onwards > Water > WA Topic 1 - Variability and Change in Water Systems > WA - 1.3 - Model, attribute and predict impacts of climate and land cover change on hydrological and freshwater systems
CEH Sections: Reynard
Funders/Sponsors: SEPA
NORA Subject Terms: Meteorology and Climatology
Hydrology
Date made live: 15 Feb 2012 15:57
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/14538

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