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Regionalisation of climate impacts on flood flows to support the development of climate change guidance for Flood Management

Reynard, N.S.; Crooks, S.M.; Kay, A.L.; Prudhomme, C.; Donovan, B.; Hardy, K.; Wilby, R.L.. 2009 Regionalisation of climate impacts on flood flows to support the development of climate change guidance for Flood Management. In: FCRM09 44th Annual Defra Flood & Coastal Risk Management Conference, Telford, 30 June - 02 July 2009.

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Abstract/Summary

Current Defra / Environment Agency guidance (FCDPAG3 supplementary note: http://www.defra.gov.uk/environ/fcd/pubs/pagn/climatechangeupdate.pdf) requires all flood management plans to allow for climate change by incorporating, within a sensitivity analysis, an increase in river flows of up 20% over the next 50 years, and beyond. This guidance is the same for all of England and Wales, making no allowance for regional variation in climate change or catchment type. This reflects the lack of scientific evidence to resolve the spatial distribution of potential impacts on flood flows with enough confidence to set such policy regionally. The 20% allowance was first raised in 1999 for MAFF and subsequently reviewed following the release of the UKCIP02 scenarios. Although the 20% figure is a memorable precautionary target, there is the risk that it leads to a significant under- or over-estimation of future flood risk in individual catchments. Defra and the Environment Agency procured project FD2020 (Regionalisation of climate change impacts on flood flows) to provide a more rigorous science base for refreshing the FCDPAG3: supplementary note guidance. The FD2020 approach is exploring the relationships between catchment characteristics and climate change impacts on peak flows in a “scenario neutral” way. This is done by defining a regular set of changes in climate that encompass all the current knowledge from the new scenarios available from the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report. For each of the 155 catchments included in the research, this broad approach will provide multiple scenarios to produce a “vulnerability surface” for change in the metrics of peak flows (e.g. the 20-year flood flow). Some of the UKCP09 products have also been used to understand what these projections may mean for changes to peak flow. The catchment-based analysis will be used to generalise to other gauged sites across Britain, using relationships with catchment characteristics, providing the scientific evidence for the development of regional guidance on climate change allowances. Specifically the project is:  Investigating the impact of climate change on peak river flows in over 150 catchments across Britain to assess the suitability of the FCDPAG3 20% climate change allowance.  Investigating catchment response to climate change to identify potential similarities such that the FCDPAG3 nationwide allowance could be regionalised.  Investigating the uncertainty in changes to future peak river flows from climate change.  Developing an approach that has longevity beyond the project timeframe and the lifetime of the latest generation of climate model results.

Item Type: Publication - Conference Item (Paper)
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > 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 Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Water > WA Topic 3 - Science for Water Management > WA - 3.4 - Develop novel and improved methods to enable the sustainable management of freshwaters and wetlands
CEH Sections: Harding (to July 2011)
Additional Keywords: Climate change, flood flows, policy
NORA Subject Terms: Hydrology
Related URLs:
Date made live: 26 Oct 2009 13:21
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/8266

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