Simulation of river flow in the Thames over 120 years: evidence of change in rainfall-runoff response?

Crooks, S.M.; Kay, A.L.. 2015 Simulation of river flow in the Thames over 120 years: evidence of change in rainfall-runoff response? Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies, 4 (B). 172-195.

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Study region: The Thames catchment in southern England, UK. Study focus: Modelling with 124 years of rainfall, potential evaporation (PE), temperature and naturalised flow data. Daily rainfall-runoff flow simulation using current and three historic land cover scenarios to determine the stationarity of catchment response examined through three time-frames of analysis – annual, seasonal and flow extremes. The criterion of response stationarity is often assumed in climate change impact studies. New hydrological insights: The generally close correspondence between observed and simulated flows using the same model parameter values for the whole period is indicative of the temporal stability of hydrological processes and catchment response, and the quality of the hydrometric data. Changes that have occurred are a decrease in flood peak response times, typically two to three days pre and post the early 1940s, from change in agricultural practices and channel conveyance, and an increase of about 15% in summer flow from increase in urban land cover between the first decade of the 20th and 21st centuries. The water balance was found to be sensitive to the PE data used, with care needed to avoid discontinuity between two parts of the data record using different methods for calculation. Long-term mean annual rainfall shows little change but contrasting patterns of variation in seasonal rainfall demonstrate a variable climate for which simulated flow is similar to observed flow.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Reynard
ISSN: 2214-5818
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: hydrometric data pre-1961, rainfall-runoff model, response stationarity, floods, droughts, land cover change
NORA Subject Terms: Hydrology
Date made live: 07 Jul 2015 09:52 +0 (UTC)

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