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Projecting streamflow in the Tangwang River basin (China) using a rainfall generator and two hydrological models

Journal article
Authors W. B. Liu
A. J. Zhang
L. Wang
G. B. Fu
Deliang Chen
C. M. Liu
T. J. Cai
Published in Climate Research
Volume 62
Issue 2
Pages 79-97
ISSN 0936-577X
Publication year 2015
Published at Department of Earth Sciences
Pages 79-97
Language en
Keywords Multisite stochastic rainfall generator, Statistical downscaling, CMIP5, Soil and Water Assessment, CLIMATE-CHANGE IMPACTS, STATISTICAL DOWNSCALING MODELS, DAILY, PRECIPITATION, NORTHEAST CHINA, VARIABILITY, RUNOFF, FREQUENCY, INTENSITY, TRENDS, PLAIN, Environmental Sciences, Meteorology & Atmospheric Sciences
Subject categories Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences, Environmental Sciences


To estimate the impacts of future climate change on streamflow in the Tangwang River basin (TRB) in northeastern China, 2 hydrological models, the Soil and Water Assessment Tool and the Hydro-Informatic Modeling System, were used. These models are driven by future (2021-2050) local rainfall and temperature scenarios downscaled from global climate model (GCM) simulations from the fifth phase of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project under 2 emission scenarios (Representative Concentration Pathway [RCP] 4.5 and RCP8.5). The downscaling of rainfall is done with the help of a multisite stochastic rainfall generator (MSRG), which extends the 'Richardson type' rainfall generator to a multisite approach using a modified series-independent and spatial-correlated random numbers method by linking its 4 parameters to large-scale circulations using least-squares regressions. An independent validation of the MSRG shows that it successfully preserves the major daily rainfall characteristics for wet and dry seasons. Relative to the reference period (1971-2000), the annual and wet season (April to October) streamflow during the future period (2021-2050) would decrease overall, which indicates that water resources and the potential flood risk would decline in the TRB. The slightly increased dry season (November to March) streamflow would, to some extent, contribute to the 'spring drought' over this region. Although rainfall is projected to remain un changed in the wet season and the whole year, the increased total evapotranspiration due to the increase in temperature would lead to a decline in total streamflow for this basin. The projected streamflow changes from multiple GCMs in this paper could provide a glimpse into a very plausible future for the water resource management community, and would hence provide valuable references for the sustainable management of water and forest ecosystems under a changing climate.

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