Hydrology and Earth System Sciences
Three statistical downscaling methods were applied to NCEP/NCAR reanalysis (used as a surrogate for the best possible general circulation model), and the downscaled meteorology was used to drive a hydrologic model over California. The historic record was divided into an “observed” period of 1950–1976 to provide the basis for downscaling, and a “projected” period of 1977–1999 for assessing skill. The downscaling methods included a biascorrection/ spatial downscaling method (BCSD), which relies solely on monthly large scale meteorology and resamples the historical record to obtain daily sequences, a constructed analogues approach (CA), which uses daily large-scale anomalies, and a hybrid method (BCCA) using a quantile-mapping bias correction on the large-scale data prior to the CA approach. At 11 sites we compared three simulated daily flow statistics: streamflow timing, 3-day peak flow, and 7-day low flow. While all downscaling methods produced reasonable streamflow statistics at most locations, the BCCA method consistently outperformed the other methods, capturing the daily large-scale skill and translating it to simulated streamflows that more skillfully reproduced observationally-driven streamflows.
Maurer, E. P., Hidalgo, H. G., Das, T., Dettinger, M. D., and Cayan, D. R.: The utility of daily large-scale climate data in the assessment of climate change impacts on daily streamflow in California, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 14, 1125-1138, doi:10.5194/hess-14-1125-2010, 2010.