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Filling the white space on maps of European runoff trends: estimates from a multi-model ensemble

Stahl, K.; Tallaksen, L.M.; Hannaford, J.; van Lanen, H.A.J.. 2012 Filling the white space on maps of European runoff trends: estimates from a multi-model ensemble. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences Discussions, 9 (2). 2005-2032. 10.5194/hessd-9-2005-2012

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Abstract/Summary

An overall appraisal of runoff changes at the European scale has been hindered by "white space" on maps of observed trends due to a paucity of readily-available streamflow data. This study tested whether this white space can be filled using estimates of trends derived from model simulations of European runoff. The simulations stem from an ensemble of eight global hydrological models that were forced with the same climate input for the period 1963–2000. A validation of the derived trends for 293 grid cells across the European domain with observation-based trend estimates, allowed an assessment of the uncertainty of the modelled trends. The models agreed on the predominant continental scale patterns of trends, but disagreed on magnitudes and even on trend directions at the transition between regions with increasing and decreasing runoff trends, in complex terrain with a high spatial variability, and in snow-dominated regimes. Model estimates appeared most reliable in reproducing trends in annual runoff, winter runoff, and 7-day high flow. Modelled trends in runoff during the summer months, spring (for snow influenced regions) and autumn, and trends in summer low flow, were more variable and should be viewed with caution due to higher uncertainty. The ensemble mean overall provided the best representation of the trends in the observations. Maps of trends in annual runoff based on the ensemble mean demonstrated a pronounced continental dipole pattern of positive trends in western and northern Europe and negative trends in southern and parts of Eastern Europe, which has not previously been demonstrated and discussed in comparable detail.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.5194/hessd-9-2005-2012
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Water > WA Topic 1 - Variability and Change in Water Systems > WA - 1.2 - Quantify variability and departures from natural historical variability in water quality ...
CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Water > WA Topic 3 - Science for Water Management > WA - 3.2 - Assessment of available water resources in a changing world ...
CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Water > WA Topic 1 - Variability and Change in Water Systems > WA - 1.4 - Management and dissemination of freshwaters data
CEH Sections: Boorman
ISSN: 1812-2108
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access article - click on the Official URL link for full text
NORA Subject Terms: Meteorology and Climatology
Hydrology
Date made live: 15 Feb 2012 09:55
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/16784

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