Use of a grid-based hydrological model and regional climate model outputs to assess changing flood risk

Bell, V. A.; Kay, A. L.; Jones, R. G.; Moore, R. J.. 2007 Use of a grid-based hydrological model and regional climate model outputs to assess changing flood risk. International Journal of Climatology, 27 (12). 1657-1671.

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A grid-based flow routing and runoff-production model, configured to employ regional climate model (RCM) precipitation estimates as input, is used to assess the effects of climate change on river flows in catchments across the UK. This model, the Grid-to-Grid model or G2G, has previously been calibrated and assessed with respect to observed river flows under current climate conditions. Here, the G2G distributed model together with a lumped catchment model, the parameter-generalized PDM, are applied to simulate river flow and derive flood frequency curves. Two sets of RCM precipitation time-series, on a 25-km grid and at hourly intervals, are used: (1) Current (1961-1990) and (2) Future (2071-2100). The effect of one extreme rainfall event in the current precipitation series is to raise the estimated peak flows for some catchments for high return periods under present day rainfall conditions. The future flow series does not contain a comparable flow peak. This significantly affects comparison of the flood frequency curves derived from the flow simulations obtained using the current and future precipitation estimates. Such variability in the results and the dependence on one or two extreme rainfall events emphasizes the need to examine more than one set of current/future precipitation scenarios for flood impact studies. In the absence of a formal ensemble of climate predictions, a resampling method is used to investigate the robustness of the modelled changes in flood frequency. Changes in flood frequency at higher return periods are, not surprisingly, found to be generally less robust than at lower return periods. This is particularly the case for catchments in the south and east of England, which were especially affected by the extreme rainfall event in the current precipitation series.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Water
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Boorman (to September 2014)
Harding (to July 2011)
ISSN: 0899-8418
Additional Keywords: rainfall-runoff model, regional climate model, flood frequency
NORA Subject Terms: Meteorology and Climatology
Date made live: 30 Jan 2008 16:24 +0 (UTC)

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