Watershed-scale response to climate change through the twenty-first century for selected basins across the United States

Earth Interactions
By: , and 

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Abstract

The hydrologic response of different climate-change emission scenarios for the twenty-first century were evaluated in 14 basins from different hydroclimatic regions across the United States using the Precipitation-Runoff Modeling System (PRMS), a process-based, distributed-parameter watershed model. This study involves four major steps: 1) setup and calibration of the PRMS model in 14 basins across the United States by local U.S. Geological Survey personnel; 2) statistical downscaling of the World Climate Research Programme’s Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 3 climate-change emission scenarios to create PRMS input files that reflect these emission scenarios; 3) run PRMS for the climate-change emission scenarios for the 14 basins; and 4) evaluation of the PRMS output.

This paper presents an overview of this project, details of the methodology, results from the 14 basin simulations, and interpretation of these results. A key finding is that the hydrological response of the different geographical regions of the United States to potential climate change may be very different, depending on the dominant physical processes of that particular region. Also considered is the tremendous amount of uncertainty present in the climate emission scenarios and how this uncertainty propagates through the hydrologic simulations. This paper concludes with a discussion of the lessons learned and potential for future work.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Watershed-scale response to climate change through the twenty-first century for selected basins across the United States
Series title Earth Interactions
DOI 10.1175/2010EI370.1
Volume 15
Year Published 2011
Language English
Publisher American meteorological Society
Contributing office(s) National Research Program - Central Branch
Description 37 p.
First page 1
Last page 37